Based on an applied term project for SUNY Empire State College course offering BME 213914
Author, Alison M. Rawlins, Course Instructor, Lydia MacKenzie, ESC mentor, Renee O’Brien
With much help and encouragement from John Spence, Better Housing Executive Director
Better Housing Better Communities
Community Education Initiative of
Better Housing for Tompkins County, Inc.
The use of the color green represents the environment. In the Ayurvedic tradition green represents the heart Chakra, unconditional love, reference to the higher self, and balance or order. Green Purple or violet represents the crown Chakra and connection to spirituality. It is also associated with royalty. In this poster, purple was chosen to represent the thoughts and emotions of the aud Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy. The choice of tone in this poster signifies activity and the behavior of giving financially or of one’s time - the energy of behavior. Yellow als
of converting suffering into joy...
relevant to the issues surveyed...
represents joy and happiness, the
y also represent sustainability, the
Affordable Housing Community Affect Neighborly Giving
the heat of emotional affect...
This hue embodies both warm
Environment and Cognition Behavior rew
ly te d an le b ard
environment, and responsible practice when engaging with nature. Here the color is used to represent the market environment. In this context many meanings that the color embodies are acu cool ends of the spectrum. It has been favored by children, nobility, and artists throughout the years because of this versatility. It lends balance between the coolness of rational cognition an d s of giving behavior. Representing the solar plexus, or core Chakra, the color means power. In giving freely and energetically of one’s time and money to a worthy cause, that power is capa
Tompkins County has a strong connection to education - so much so that the area’s two largest employers are Cornell A short survey was distributed to assess the community opinion of housing issues. The survey was sent electronically to an During the 2009-2010 fiscal year Better Housing for Tompkins County presents two training opportunities:
University and Ithaca College. This brings a great deal of diversity to the area, both ethnic and economic. email list that is administered by Cornell University and the Tompkins County Human Service Coalition. Individuals with interest The first, hosted in October 2009, fulfilled 2 hours of required annual training for municipal planning and zoning board
A community needs assessment was conducted for Tompkins County in August 2006, and the outcomes reported were in human service issues and news from the human service community self-subscribe to the list in order to receive postings on a members. The topic of the presentation, The Housing Trust Model for Affordable Housing, has provided an affordable home-
the basis for Better Housing for Tompkins County’s educational initiative, Better Housing -> Better Communities. The needs variety of topics germane to the local network. Eighty responses revealed strong community interest in affordable housing. The ownership option that is being explored locally by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Service (INHS). INHS executive director,
assessment indicates a strong desire in the community for housing that is affordable to young families and aging adults. Four results of the second Compass II survey conducted by the United Way of Tompkins County show similar results. Paul Mazzarella, presented the initial successes of the model within the city of Ithaca. Spence and Mazzarella co-presented on
thousand new units must be constructed by 2014 to meet the needs of our growing community. the potential benefit of bringing this model into use in the rural municipalities of Tompkins County.
Research shows that the size and cost of new residential construction has been increasing in recent years. The The second meeting brings together the presidents of Cornell University, David Skorton, and Ithaca College, Thomas
construction of large, costly, single-family, homes will take care of itself in this market, but many factors impede construction Feelings towards affordable housing Rochon, and other community leaders to discuss Tompkins County’s unique housing issues. This meeting will take place on
of small, affordable, homes for first-time home buyers, and moderate to high density rental properties. The 2009 COMPASS II-2.0 survey reveals significant increases in respondents’ awareness of substantial housing February 16, 2010.
concerns between 2003 and 2009. Households were questioned via telephone, web as well as by targeted-in-person
Municipal water and sewer infrastructures 68 % of all respondents believe that a shortage of affordable housing is a critical problem Voting in support of favorable zoning rules
Rural residential properties frequently construct individual well and sewer infrastructure to support the plumbing 77% of web respondents find this issue critical. In some cases a parcel that is attractive to developers may be located in an area that is zoned for lower residential
needs of the household. Construction of larger municipal infrastructures is far more costly than each household system, 9% of all respondents indicated that their lives were disrupted by frequent moves density than the planned community. In such instances, municipal zoning boards and planning committees may be asked
but when critical mass of nodal development tips the cost/benefit scale, the per-household expense decreases for each 32% of targeted-in-person respondents reported frequent, life-disrupting moves (Compass II, 2009, p. 22). to modify the town’s zoning plan.
additional household served.
Moderate- and high-density developments such as small lot subdivisions, townhouses, or apartments of a large
enough scale may support construction of water systems that can serve their neighbors. Central administration and Thoughts about costs and benefits Withdrawing opposition to developments
quality control helps ensure these communities enjoy the same standard of fresh, clean water and sanitation as larger The HUD defined affordability standard is not more than a third of household income. The percentage of Compass II If opposition remains, a developer may take their project elsewhere. An attitude of “not in my back yard,” or
municipalities where rural household control of water systems may fall short of urban standards. respondents who said that a shortage of affordable housing is a critical problem increased 18% over all income levels between NIMBYism in one town or village may mean another location will get the benefit of centralized water systems, public
studies conducted in 2003 and 2009. The greatest increase in percentage was in the high income category(21%). The overall transportation and tax revenues that follow the people.
increase in percent of respondents indicating that they live in housing that requires major repairs increased 10.8% while the INHS has developed several new homes within the City of Ithaca that operate on the Housing Trust Model.
Traffic patterns and public transportation percentage of responses in the low and moderate income category increased 15% each. The percentage of respondents who Expanding this model, where a nonprofit organization retains ownership of the land and income-qualified individuals can
Outlying areas are marginally served by public transportation in Tompkins County. T-Cat bus service has a limited indicated that they spend over 50% of their income on housing increased 8.6% in 2009 from the 2003 survey; 29.7% of achieve home-ownership and earn a moderate return on their equity, from the city into rural areas requires the
service to villages outside of Ithaca, but rural households are so dispersed that public service is not feasible. Nodal respondents spend over half their pay on housing (Compass II, 2009, p. 24). cooperation of community leaders. In a rural setting such development might take the form of a set of townhouses which
development creates a destination that is easy to serve and households along the way also benefit from the route. is likely to require increased density zoning. Housing of this type would need to create a number of new households large
Where public transportation remains unavailable, households meet their needs with cars and trucks that use the enough to justify public transportation service and community sanitation infrastructure in order to be beneficial,
highways and byways maintained by the towns and county. When housing within the county fails to be affordable, lower Success stories and personal connection sustainable and ultimately, affordable.
pay workers may commute from neighboring counties in their vehicles - this places maintenance demands on
Tompkins County infrastructure without providing tax revenues to support the costs. When the workforce in lower
pay-band jobs commutes into Tompkins County, sales tax as well as property tax revenues are lost to the counties Contributing volunteer time
in which our work-force resides. Habitat for Humanity operates a successful volunteer program. Clients contribute sweat-equity to the construction
of their home, and most of the labor is provided by volunteers. Better Housing for Tompkins County has organized
Group Work Camp events in the past, but does not have a successful ongoing construction volunteer program. We hope
Tax incentives for first-time homebuyers to learn from Habitat’s model.
After the sub-prime mortgage fall-out of late 2008 a large tax incentive was offered to first-time home buyers An event for later this spring is in the early planning phases. If successful, a Better Build Weekend will generate
as part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the target of this tax funds and awareness enough to support a part-time volunteer coordinator.
incentive was extended to selected homeowners and the time-frame for qualifying transactions has also been
expanded into 2010.
Making financial contributions
Most of the activities undertaken are funded by grants and United Way membership. These funds have specific
Tax credit system for development Reasons to support new nodal development objectives, and often fail to meet the operating overhead expenses such as administrative staff salaries, petty office items,
and gifts for volunteers. Unrestricted funds that come to us through individual donations give us leeway to explore new
Various incentives to build affordable housing units are extended to developers by programs at the State and Federal Safety in numbers - better use of law enforcement patrols and more efficient response to emergencies
avenues and find additional grant dollars that help us expand our service activities.
levels. According to Republican Senator, Christopher Bond (2002), the affordable housing expansion act addresses a Better infrastructure such as water and sewer supplies and access to public transportation
Our most valued supporters exhibit overt behavior in many ways - Paving the way for affordable housing through
growing shortage of affordable rental units nationally. The low income housing tax credit system can be used by
Supports local business such as: gas and convenience grocery, mechanics, child-care, lawn-care and construction their role in municipal leadership, contributing time and energy to our mission though serving on our volunteer board of
successful ventures to offset their tax expense, or to generate revenues for which offset operating costs before properties
Increases value per acre generating larger property tax revenue directors, and providing annual fiscal contributions. These are the real soldiers of our mission: Recognizing that people
begin generating income.
Decreases transportation costs for schools deserve to live with dignity, Better Housing for Tompkins County, Inc. is dedicated to increasing sustainable, secure and
The overall impact of well-designed and -managed communities for mixed income residents is to bring vitality and
affordable housing options for rural residents though construction, education and advocacy.
sustainability to the municipality in which it is built. Invites socialization and networking that support families and community involvement
Creates opportunities for community programs such as Neighborhood Watch ….
This poster prepared for SUNY Undergraduates Shaping New York's Future:
A Showcase of Scholarly Posters at the Capitol
February 2, 2010
Legislative Office Building