On November 4th, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) and the Salvation Army Syracuse Area joined project partners and the Mayor of Ithaca to celebrate the opening of Founders Way. Located in Ithaca this new mixed-use, mixed income community has created four new buildings with 75 affordable apartments, including 22 supportive housing units for young adults and survivors of domestic violence. Onsite services are provided by Salvation Army- Empire Division in partnership with the Advocacy Center and Learning Web funded by the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) administered by New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
The project converted a vacant parochial school campus located in a residential neighborhood near the heart of Ithaca's downtown core. In addition to housing, the project also features nonresidential space for The Learning Webb, the Village at Ithaca and additional offices for Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC).
Johanna Anderson, Executive Director at INHS, kicked off the program speaking to some of the many features of Founders Way, “There are drop-in centers, a laundry facility, access to counselors, resource providers; this is just a place where an at-risk youth could come and feel safe.”
City of Ithaca Acting Mayor Laura Lewis also spoke, "Founders Way represents a whole neighborhood in Ithaca where people can live in close proximity to schools, the public library, transit, downtown and parks, which are just a few of many attributes that make this vibrant mixed-use neighborhood a tremendous asset.”
“One of the things I’ve learned in studying how to build community is that you don’t segregate people out,” said New York State Assembly member for the 125th District Anna Kelles, “You don’t put low income housing in one place, and market-rate housing in another place.”
“The real benefit of affordable housing is measured in the safety and stability of family. That’s especially true in supportive housing,” said Assistant Commissioner of New York State Homes & Community Renewal Leonard Skrill. “It is also measured in the creation of a community. Founders Way offers just that for families of all income levels - services for those in need, including formerly homeless youth and people with developmental disabilities.”
“Thank you for repurposing this school into affordable quality housing for our community.” said GIAC Director Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, “Thank you for centering people who cannot afford to live in the City of Ithaca otherwise.”
"Thank you for a beautiful home. INHS not only builds homes for families, but keeps them together. INHS continually makes dreams come true, helping families find homes," said Founders Way Resident Stella Avcisoy.
Remarks were also given by: Tompkins County Legislator Anne Koreman and INHS Founding Board Member Matthys Van Cort.
Financing for the project is provided by New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal’s 9% Low income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), SLIHC, Housing Trust Fund, HOME program, Community Investment Fund (CIF), and Middle Income Housing Program (MIHP).
The general contractor was Hamilton Stern Construction and the architect was SWBR Architects.