Cornell contributes $10,000 to Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) is another step closer to meeting its annual and capital campaign goals, thanks to a $10,000 contribution from Cornell.

Cornell is a founding member and continuing supporter of INHS, which offers a variety of programs that provide new and rehabilitated affordable housing in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

In a check-presentation ceremony Wednesday (Jan. 31, 1996), Cornell Vice President for University Relations Henrik N. Dullea said the multi-faceted program operated by INHS is an effective model for other housing organizations across the nation.

For example, INHS rehabilitates vacant and run-down buildings, helps renters become first-time home buyers through low-interest loans, moves people into clean, affordable and well-managed rental units, and provides a mini-repair program for the elderly.

"The 'before and after' photographs of INHS projects are testimony to the success of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services," Dullea said. "The university has been pleased to have a close working relationship with INHS since it started almost 20 years ago."

In accepting the $10,000 contribution, Paul Mazzarella, executive director of INHS, said, "Cornell is one of our strongest partners, and our success is based on the continuing support of local institutions." Mazzarella said this latest gift brings the 1995-96 capital campaign to 65 percent of its $110,000 goal to support renovation of a house that was moved across West Clinton Street to the parking area behind the former Henry St. John elementary school. The two-story structure, which had been slated for demolition, was purchased by INHS last year for use as new office space. Since then, many volunteers, including Cornell students, have been renovating the house to meet the city's building-code requirements and to make it energy efficient and accessible to the handicapped.

Renovation of the building is to be completed this spring, Mazzarella said, noting that the new headquarters will allow the volunteer-directed organization to expand on-site services and to add staff in the future. INHS provides services to more than 500 households in Tompkins County from its current offices in a house at 520 West Green Street.

"The capital campaign, which we call 'On The Move,' is consistent with our mission of preserving and enhancing the existing housing stock in Ithaca, thereby helping to maintain and improve the character of neighborhoods," Mazzarella explained.

Over the years, Cornell has provided operating grants, challenge grants and salvage rights to INHS, bringing total support to more than $130,000, in addition to the donation of student and staff time and expertise.

Among the many campus groups that have assisted INHS are members of the Associate Real Estate Council at Cornell, which includes students from the Johnson Graduate School of Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the colleges of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Human Ecology. In addition, interns from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning drew up house plans and conducted neighborhood surveys; students from the Public Service Center and "The Partnership" helped with demolition and painted siding and walls; and undergraduates in the Cornell Tradition program donated time and money.

INHS is the type of public-private partnership that should be encouraged, said David I. Stewart, director of community relations at Cornell. "When Cornell contributes resources to the community, housing is a priority. We recognize that housing needs in Ithaca are very important issues and the kinds of programs INHS offers not only are effective but can have a lasting and positive impact."

Stewart added, "We hope that others in the community will join with Cornell and pledge their support to the capital and operating campaigns so the good work of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services can be continued for many years to come."

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