ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Tompkins County Human Services Coalition is looking for local renters to respond to a new anonymous survey that will be used to inform community conversations about area housing security and financial needs.

“The data is meant to be a snapshot of renter’s self-reported perception about their ability to pay rent and other bills. It is not a scientific study and I’m sure you saw the questions were fairly vague. It will be used to inform community conversations including sharing with decision-makers and electeds as well as to help guide service providers as they design or modify programs to serve people in this time,” said Liddy Bargar, coordinator of Housing Initiatives at the Human Services Coalition.

Bargar said that in the wake of coronavirus and the subsequent economic shutdown, committees within county and city government are trying to make an educated guess about how many people in our community are facing eviction or have other emergent needs related to housing. Currently, no such data exists which according to Bargar could greatly benefit local human services agencies plan for the future. 

“There is no data at all from which to center the conversation so it is all very theoretical or, worse in my opinion, based on a few anecdotal stories of things people have heard are happening,” she said.

Coronavirus housing relief has been a major conversation within the Ithaca community in past months –– 70% of the Ithaca community is comprised of renters –– many of which are facing economic uncertainty and loss of income. Additionally, the newly formed Ithaca Tenants Union continues to make headlines as they advocate on behalf of renters and push forward with their #cancelrent campaign.

Now heading into 2021 city budget conversations and the finalization of a second CARES Act in Washington, data regarding coronavirus effects will become even more vital for lawmakers seeking to provide assistance and relief to citizens adversely impacted.

To take the survey, and help give a more accurate picture of the housing situation locally, click here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com