ITHACA, N.Y. — As March rolls in every year, it comes time for the city to take the state and federal grants it has been awarded, and figure out a way to disburse them in a way that does the most community benefit. As a result, the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency (IURA) will be holding public hearings on March 16th and 23rd as part of the process to determine who will receive money from its Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants.

All summed up, there’s $1,981,638 requested, and $1,149,421 available, so this is something of a competition. Applicants present their project, answer questions from IURA staff and appointed public committee members, and the proposals are weighed on factors such as the applicant’s track record, likelihood of success, and if the project delivers the most “bang for the buck” to the Ithaca community.

The 25 applicants (same number as last year) range from jobs training to community services to the development of affordable housing. Below is a summary of the applicants, with links to each application at the start of the entry.

Housing

1. Lakeview Ithaca – Lakeview Health Services, a healthcare provider provide specializing in mental health, has requested $250,000 towards a $20.1 million project to build 50 units of affordable rental housing at the corner of North Meadow and West Court Streets, of which 25 would be reserved for Lakeview clients. Along with its residential mental health facilities, Lakeview has some experience with affordable housing, opening a new 60-unit apartment building in Wayne County last year.

2. Chartwell House – TCAction seeks $208,270 to cover the costs of renovating its 12-bed supportive housing facility for homeless men at 322 North Meadow Street.

3. INHS Home Rehab – Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) has requested $150,000 to help cover the renovation costs of six homes owned and occupied by lower-to-moderate income households.

4. 402 S. Cayuga Street – Habitat for Humanity is planning four new owner-occupied townhouses for low-income families at 402 South Cayuga Street. A request of $80,000 would help cover the construction costs for two of them.

5. The Learning Web’s Housing Scholarship Program is asking for $65,592 to cover the housing costs for eight homeless youth receiving supportive services.

6. Catholic Charities has filed a request for $42,750 to help provide rental security deposits for low-income tenants.

7. INHS filed a separate request for $35,000 to help cover small emergency repairs for fifty low-income seniors and those with disabilities.

Economic Development

8. The Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) is requesting $115,036 for its Hospitality Employment Training Program (HETP), which will provide hospitality job training and readiness for twenty individuals, and job placement for fourteen.

9. Finger Lakes ReUse would like to use $100,000 in funds to help pay for a $10 million renovation that would create 3 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

10. TCAction has expressed interest in $84,200 to use towards its $8.25 million child care center to be built as part of the Amici House project at 661-701 Spencer Road. The new Early Head Start facility, to be named for long-time TCAction employee Harriet Giannelis, would create 21 FTE jobs.

11. Historic Ithaca is seeking $67,500 to help cover the expense of job training for 6 low-income individuals.

12. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County would like $37,037 to develop eight new “micro-enterprise” food businesses led by low-income individuals. Examples include home-kitchen operations, market stalls, carts and food trucks.

Public Facilities

13. TCAT is asking for $112,772 in grant monies to pay for about half the costs of installing 121 new bus stop signs, 8 new shelters and 4 arrival predictor displays, which would be posted in lower-income neighborhoods.

14. The Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center (DICC) is requesting $64,800 from the IURA to pay for heating and roofing repairs to its facility at 506 First Street in the Northside neighborhood.

15. Landscape architect Daniel Krall has filed a request for $22,500 to pay for the construction of a new 24′ x 30′ pavilion in Conley Park.

Public Services

16. Catholic Charities is asking for $30,000 for legal immigrant services – job placement, legal aid, and the like.

17. Ithaca Carshare is seeking $29,043 for 50 subsidized car-sharing memberships for LMI households.

18. Finger Lakes ReUse would like $22,410 to pay for on-the-job training for 12 adults who have completed its entry level program.

19. Historic Ithaca has filed a request for $20,000 for job readiness training for 20 LMI community members. This dovetails with the 6 who would be helped with job placement in their other filing (#11).

20. The Human Services Coalition (HSC) is asking for $20,000 for its 2-1-1 call service.

21. Catholic Charities would like $20,000 to base for a case manager for sixteen homeless women at transitional housing facilities.

22. The BJM Enrichment Program is asking the IURA for $17,410 to fund ten scholarships to be awarded to ten academically vulnerable BJM Elementary school students who take part in the Academic Plus program.

23. The Ithaca Youth Bureau is requesting $11,478 to partially fund its “Big Brothers Big Sisters” youth education and mentoring program.

24. The ICSD is asking for $13,280 to cover the costs to provide supportive services to 3-5 formerly homeless families receiving housing vouchers from the IHA.

25. Catholic Charities has the smallest request of the 25; $6,930 to cover staff time for administering the security deposit program (#6).

Members of the public are invited to sit in on the IURA meetings, which will be held at City Hall on the 16th from 8:30-11:30 AM, and on the 23rd from 8:30-11:30 AM.

Brian Crandall

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