ITHACA, N.Y.  — The Advocacy Center purchased a building in downtown Ithaca last week, fulfilling a years long goal of keeping the center accessibly located downtown while reducing operation costs.

“It feels like a really big day for the agency,” Executive Director Heather Campbell said. “This is part of us fulfilling our mission (of) being able to better serve victims in the community.”

The Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization that offers free services to people who are survivors of domestic violence or sex crimes. Those services include helping people get access to emergency housing, connecting people with legal services, providing access to mental health services, among many other resources. It’s a nondiscriminatory organization.

Campbell said the Advocacy Center has had three different locations over the past 15 years. The idea to purchase the building they’re currently in began floating around nearly five years ago.

Staying near downtown Ithaca is crucial for the organization, she said, because people who use the Advocacy Center need to readily be able to get to the Tompkins County Court on the 300 block of North Tioga Street, or are commuting to the area via a centrally located bus route. She said the agency began to worry that if the lease were to be renewed at a higher price, the agency could get priced out of downtown.

“This really secures our future for keeping our services downtown,” she said.

The purchase was also a smart business move, she said, because the cost of  owning the building is cheaper than what they were previously paying to rent the space.

Curently, the Advocacy Center is not occupying the entire building and they have a total of three tenants. While those tenants will continue to rent the space for now, Campbell said the agency is in a win-win situation. If they decide to keep renting the space, that rent money goes toward the agency. But if they fulfill their vision of expanding to be able to provide new services, such as transitional housing or legal services, the space could eventually be used for those purposes.

Per the Advocacy Center’s request, the exact location of the center is not being revealed in an effort to protect people’s privacy. But those interested in services being offered by the center can find more information here.