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Ithaca Realtors Tackle 'Workforce' Housing Shortage

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - The shortage of affordable housing is a serious problem across the Southern Tier. On Thursday night in Ithaca, people from different sectors came together to discuss one aspect of the problem -- workforce housing. 

The event was organized by a local realtors’ organization and about one a hundred people attended. The evening began with a presentation by Corning Mayor Bill Boland and others about how his city is using a private-public partnership to refurbish existing housing stock.

For the rest of the time, the discussion focused on Ithaca's “workforce” housing shortage. Described by one of the organizers as as the ‘missing middle’, it refers to people able to qualify for a mortgage but not able to find a home they can afford close to the city center.

It’s a shortage several say is making it harder to attract talented professionals to the area.

Buzz Dolph said, "Everyone needs skin in the game. Everyone has to come to the table and say what can we do -- as a community, as a financial institution, as a builder -- to bring costs down."

He is a builder with a commitment to building affordable homes. He said right now the ones with the most at stake are builders like him because their livelihood is on the line.

The main obstacle he and others brought up was the many requirements from different municipalities around the county. It makes it difficult and costly for builders to construct modestly priced homes.

The organizers announced this is the first of a several gatherings. The next meeting is planned for February.