ITHACA, N.Y. — On Tuesday, the Tompkins County Legislature will vote on whether or not to take $118,000 from the county’s general fund to indirectly help build head start classrooms and a living facility for homeless young adults.

The project is spearheaded by Tompkins Community Action (TCAction), a non-profit that provides services and assistance to low-income individuals and families. The facility plan is the latest incarnation of TCAction’s Amici House project, slated to share their headquarters property at 701 Spencer Road on the southern edge of the city of Ithaca.

The $118,000 would be use to purchase a house at 661 Spencer Road, whose land would be incorporated into plans for a 23-person facility for homeless young adults aged 18-25, and five early head start classrooms. The classrooms would be built in one building, while the housing would be an addition to the TCAction building. The one-story house at 661 Spencer, built in 1950 and formerly owned by the Amici family, would be removed.

TCAction first acquired their property with the help of the county back in 2001. The cost of the purchase is paid back to the county in the form of a 20-year lease, set to expire in 2021 with the transfer of the deed from the county to TCAction.

TCAction owns the house at 661 Spencer, but by selling it to the county, it consolidates the two neighboring properties under one owner, and frees up money for developing the Amici House project. The county gets reimbursed by TCAction by adding two more years of payments to TCAction’s lease.

TCAction manages a number of housing facilities for vulnerable individuals, including the Chartwell House for men in recovery, Magnolia House for women, and the Corn Street Apartments.

According to a memo from County Administrator Joe Mareane, “TCAction has submitted and discussed Amici House Concept Papers with several New York State funders, as well as residents of the area, and has received very positive feedback.”

“Amici House is not a shelter, but a residence that is available until the occupant is ready to transition with support, to a more independent living environment.”

If the legislature approves, the lease would be extended by two years so TCAction can pay them back for the up-front cost of buying 661 Spencer. The Amici House project would be completed by 2018.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.