Tompkins County
New York


Establishing the Tompkins County Affordable Housing and Landlord Support Task Force


Department:Housing and Economic Development CommitteeSponsors:


  1. Printout

Resolution/Document Body

              WHEREAS, according to the 2015 Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan’s housing principle, “Tompkins County should be a place where housing is affordable, safe, energy efficient, and appealing,” and


              WHEREAS, according to the Tompkins County Housing Needs Assessment, “When housing cannot be found close to jobs, services, and recreation facilities it creates adverse impacts on public health, environmental quality, the cost of local government services, social equity and overall quality of life,” and


              WHEREAS, according to the Housing Needs Assessment, housing development in Tompkins County has not kept pace with growth in employment and the competition for existing housing has contributed to escalating housing costs and these escalating costs have led to the displacement of lower and moderate income households, and


              WHEREAS, while the New York Housing stability and Tenant Protection Act, which passed in 2019, was designed to address chronically high rates of homelessness and evictions throughout New York State, and


              WHEREAS, the New York Lawful Source of Income Non-Discrimination Act, also passed in 2019, adds "lawful source of income" as a protected class for the sale or lease of any real property and was designed to reduce discrimination of low-income households dependent on Housing Choice Vouchers to obtain stable housing, and


              WHEREAS, although these State laws are important to help mitigate documented homelessness and lack of housing options for low-income households, they do create challenges to landlords who must navigate these changes to laws governing the management practices of their residential rental properties, and


              WHEREAS, given the existing shortage of affordable housing in Tompkins County, it is critical to stabilize the existing affordable housing market while promoting the development of new affordable housing stock, and


              WHEREAS, there is a range of tools and programs implemented in communities around the country to support landlords as they navigate the regulations and requirements of providing affordable housing for low-income households, such as a landlord liaison and a damages mitigation fund, and these supports have been found to improve housing availability for low-income households, specifically with vouchers, now therefore be it


              RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Housing and Economic Development Committee, That a Tompkins County Affordable Housing and Landlord Support Task Force be established to research and recommend appropriate tools to support Tompkins County landlords as a means of stabilizing and expanding the existing affordable housing market with a six-month maximum term of operation and consist of 11 members who will be appointed by the Legislature,


              RESOLVED, further, That the membership shall include representatives from different segments of the community, such as:

Tompkins County Legislature

Tompkins County Landlords Associations to include at least one representative from a rural area

Tompkins County Realtors

Department of Social Services

Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency

Human Services Coalition

Affordable Housing Developer

Agencies that administer Tompkins County Housing Choice Voucher programs




Meeting History

Nov 22, 2019 10:30 AM  Housing and Economic Development Committee Regular Meeting

Ms. Kelles spoke of the funding included in the budget for this endeavor and the position would be housed and staffed through the Human Services Coalition. Ms. Schlather reviewed the need for this position especially after all the new fair housing rules by the State. These changes have been stressful on landlords and this position could help explain the new laws and alleviate some of the stress so those landlords would continue to rent to individuals with housing vouchers.

Ms. Kelles explained the need to stabilize the existing housing while new housing is being built and this position should help with stabilization. Mr. Granison asked if the recent legislation regarding source of income discrimination passed at the State level would assist in stabilizing housing. Ms. Kelles stated it should but there are mechanisms in place that can limit affordable housing availability. Mr. Granison asked that the individual in the position be cautious about providing any type of legal advice. Ms. Kelles stated the liaison would be referring people to legal services.

Mr. Granison asked if there would be tenant representation on this task force. Ms. Schlather explained that there are agency representatives that will be representing tenants on the task force.

MOVER:Anne Koreman, Member
SECONDER:Henry Granison, Member
AYES:Anna Kelles, Anne Koreman, Henry Granison
EXCUSED:Deborah Dawson, Michael Sigler
Dec 3, 2019 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting

Mr. Sigler said he has the same concerns with this resolution as he did with the previous resolution. He would rather see staff working than having to attend meetings. Ms. Kelles said this would not be funded by the County and County staff would not have to attend. It will be staffed by the Human Services Coalition.

Mr. Klein questioned whether this Task Force would be subject to the Open Meetings Law. Mr. Wood commented the County recently updated its policy on this issue and the Task Force would be required to follow that policy.

MOVER:Anna Kelles, Member
SECONDER:Amanda Champion, Member
AYES:Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Daniel Klein, Anne Koreman, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson
NAYS:Henry Granison, Michael Sigler
EXCUSED:Deborah Dawson, David McKenna