Reed Steberger, Democratic candidate for the 4th district of the Tompkins County legislature, representing portions of downtown Ithaca and Collegetown, joined Josh Brokaw of TruthSayers on WRFI News on June 20 for a 14-minute interview. Steberger is challenging Rich John, the incumbent in District 4, in the Democratic primary. On the question of affordable housing, Steberger offered up an idea recently put forward by the county Office of Human Rights: “One of the biggest things we can do right away, is pursue a local law…Continue Reading “Listen: Tompkins County Legislature Candidate Reed Steberger”

The Tompkins County planning department released a draft version of the proposed county Housing Strategy this afternoon, June 15. The county legislature’s committee on planning, development and environmental quality will review the draft strategy at a public meeting on June 20 at 4 p.m. in the legislature chambers, 121 E. Court St. The idea is to make a recommendation on the final strategy for a vote by the full legislature by sometime in July. Read this TruthSayers story if you’re interested in some of the…Continue Reading “Tompkins County Housing Strategy, For Your Review”

By Josh Brokaw Construction on the Harold’s Square building is finally close to starting on the south side of the Ithaca Commons, so it seems, after four-plus years of public starts and stops. Developer David Lubin, of Horseheads’ “L Properties,” and the “Harold’s Holdings LLC” entity set up to build the 12-story building, received a 10-year tax abatement from the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency on June 8, one of the final hurdles to the project. Lubin appeared at the May city planning board meeting,…Continue Reading “Harold’s Square On Its Way: Tax Break Granted Over Vocal Opposition”

The Tompkins County government is asking for comments from citizens on a new document that will guide efforts to increase the number and quality of housing units within the county. By May 31, questions and comments about the new Tompkins County housing strategy should be directed to the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability, whether in writing at 121 East Court Street, Ithaca, NY 14850, via phone at (607) 274-5560, or by email at What is a “housing strategy,” you ask? Tompkins County…Continue Reading “Housing Tompkins County: Make Your Voice Heard”

Tompkins County Action will have $400,000 more in funds to give out in rental assistance over the next two years. The funding will provide up to 15 people per year with rental assistance starting in June 2017, allowing the tenants to pay only 30 percent of their income for rent. Danielle Harrington, housing services director at TCAction, explained to service providers at the Tompkins County Continuum of Care meeting last week that the funding will also provide for some staff assistance for renters. The idea…Continue Reading “$400,000 More For Rental Assistance, And Other Tompkins Housing News”

By Josh Brokaw If Ithaca does ever build a conference center, one thing is almost for certain: Taxpayers will pay for part or all of the bill. The results of a market demand study for a conference center in downtown Ithaca have been released, and the headline finding has been that Ithaca could support a facility for conferences, weddings, and the like. That doesn’t mean that building a conference center would make anyone any money, directly. “It’s very typical stand-alone conference centers don’t make money,”…Continue Reading ““Conference Centers Don’t Make Money,” But Ithaca Is Ready For One”

By Josh Brokaw Every year, sometime in January, a handful of volunteers spend the night traipsing Tompkins County with the goal of turning names into numbers. The names are those of homeless people. The numbers are required by the federal government. In a place the size of Ithaca, the names and locations of local outdoorspeople are often well-known to those doing the survey. Many of the volunteers who do the “point-in-time” count every year already work with people who spend much of their time on…Continue Reading “The Point-in-Time Count: Making People Into Numbers For Federal Funds”

New York State Assembly member Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) visited Ithaca on Wednesday, February 1 to promote a bill that would significantly increase cash subsidies to people struggling to make rent. Hevesi has been gathering support for months for Home Stability Support, in the midst of what he called “the worst homeless crisis in New York since the Great Depression.” On Wednesday, Hevesi made his case outside Ithaca’s City Hall flanked by Mayor Svante Myrick, Assemblyperson Barbara Lifton, and Ithaca Rescue Mission director Rich Bennett. Hevesi…Continue Reading “More $$ For Renting Poor?”

Did you miss the Tompkins County Housing Summit? Let Truthsayers TV take you there! In our very first episode of Television News, we distill the hours of talk at the summit, held Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2016, into a half-hour of clips and commentary. You can also read our Housing Summit takeaways story for more on the ever-important topic of shelter. This episode of Truthsayers TV was first aired on Pegasys Coming soon: Truthsayers TV’s 2016 Happenings – a year-in-review look at the stories…Continue Reading “Truthsayers TV, Episode One: Tompkins County Housing Summit”

Tompkins County Housing: Summit Takeaways

The gathering Space @ GreenStar was full on Thursday, December 1 for the Tompkins County Housing Summit. Attendees heard hours of talk about housing, from planners, developers, a Cornell representative, and those who struggle most to keep a roof over their head in a high-priced rental market. Summit organizers, funded in part by local developers, realtors, and foundation monies, brought in Christopher Coes, a vice president with D.C.-based non-profit Smart Growth America, to speak on both Wednesday night at Ithaca High School and at the…Continue Reading “Tompkins County Housing: Summit Takeaways”