Cornell and Tompkins County officials announced on Friday that the University will extend its partnership with the Tompkins County Community Housing Development Fund and provide an additional $200,000 contribution this year.
Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina announced at a gathering celebrating 10 years of commitment to affordable housing that Cornell will supplement the CHDF and extend Cornell’s partnership with Ithaca and Tompkins County through 2027. The Tompkins County website describes the fund as, “designed to ensure that newly constructed or rehabilitated housing units remain affordable to successive buyers or renters.”
Since 2009, Cornell has provided a $200,000 contribution annually as part of its commitment to the fund. The CHDF also receives $100,000 each from Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca. This will be an additional one-time payment.
Cornell last extended the program in 2015, when they pledged to guarantee funding through 2021.
“The Community Housing Development Fund is a great example of community-campus collaboration, and it’s a privilege for Cornell University to work with Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca on this landmark initiative that works to ensure that newly constructed or rehabilitated housing units remain affordable to successive buyers or renters,” said Malina, according to WXHC.
Martha Robinson ’75, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature and Johanna Anderson, executive director of the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, joined Malina at the event and voiced support for Cornell’s initiative.
“The Community Housing Fund has become a staple in providing funding to support affordable housing within the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County … The impact of this partnership is insurmountable, providing much-needed funding to expand access to affordable housing to those who need it most,” Anderson said, according to the Ithaca Voice.
Homes renovated by INHS are built on land held by the organization in its Community Housing Trust, whereby buyers purchase homes while INHS retains ownership over the land.
The arrangement allows the INHS to preserve lower costs for future homebuyers for years after the initial family leaves.
According to Robertson, this project and others funded by the CHDF have enabled the rehabilitation and construction of 491 units of affordable housing. Over 10 years Cornell, Ithaca, and Tompkins County have together raised nearly $4 million for these homes.
The current fund contains around $1.2 million however, which won’t meet the needs of the 15 projects applying for approximately $2.5 million within the next few years as demand grows
Residential construction permits reached a new record high of 805 units in 2018, although fewer than 20 percent of these were single family homes. Home ownership opportunities for low to middle income residents remain limited.
“To create affordable housing opportunities for our community, no one entity does it alone,” said Robertson. “We are so fortunate to have the partnership of our largest employer, Cornell University, together with the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County to create the CHDF.”