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”

Matthew Desmond’s research into evictions started with his own variation on an old thought among social thinkers: “America is kind of weird – it’s the richest nation, with the highest rate of poverty.” As a graduate student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Desmond found that the causes and effects of evictions were barely touched in the social science literature. Researchers had studied how neighborhoods develop and cohere, they had studied the “lucky minority of poor families staying in public housing,” but no one…Continue Reading “Evicted: One Story of America’s Housing Crisis”

State Department: Ithaca Refugee Resettlement A Go

Plans for Ithaca to start welcoming up to 50 refugees a year are officially a go. Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga counties announced on Tuesday, Nov. 1 that it has received United States Department of State grant funding to start a refugee resettlement program. Sue Chaffee is director of Catholic Charities’ immigrant service program and will be supervising the refugee resettlement. In a press release sent out Nov. 1, Chaffee said refugees will be coming from “places like Syria, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and the Democratic Republic…Continue Reading “State Department: Ithaca Refugee Resettlement A Go”

An Epic Zoning Saga Concludes: 201 College Ave Now Under Construction

By Josh Brokaw Whether you believe the “soul of Collegetown” to be more the marauding students or long-term residents, 201 College Avenue will be the home of one more new apartment building and one less old boarding house by this time next year. One of the weirder trips through the city’s planning process in recent history ended for developer Todd Fox and his Visum Development Group around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, October 17. That was when the Board of Zoning Appeals voted to deny the…Continue Reading “An Epic Zoning Saga Concludes: 201 College Ave Now Under Construction”