Help for renters and emergency food & shelter programs

Help for Renters

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Service (INHS) is launching its COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program to provide rent relief for approximately 250 households across four counties, including Seneca, Schuyler, Tioga, and Tompkins, this month. The program is designed to provide relief up to three months to eligible households who have experienced a loss of income related to the public health crisis; To be eligible:

·         Applicants will need to have post-COVID-19 income below the following income guidelines for their household size and county,

·         Renters will need their landlord or property owner’s approval to participate in the program,

·         Properties must meet condition requirements,

·         Applicants will need to provide a copy of their current lease, copies of most recent two months of statements for all bank and/or investments accounts, and proof of COVID-19 related income loss.

The program will begin accepting applications beginning on June 8  for renters in Schuyler and Seneca Counties, and June 15 for renters in Tioga and Tompkins Counties. The program application and additional information, including FAQs can be found on the INHS website or by calling (277-4500 ext. 201. Also, see attached flyer,

Funds will be distributed on a first eligible, first-served basis. You do not have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to be eligible. If you have any questions or a client is in need of assistance with applying, please contact Amber Compton at INHS will be presenting details about the program during the Tompkins County Homeless and Housing Task Force public meeting on Wednesday, June 3 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is open to the public and the Zoom information can be found here. If you have issues connecting, contact Liddy Bargar at


Help for Emergency Food & Shelter Programs

Applications are now being accepted for local funding under the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Through this federal program, Tompkins County has been allocated funding to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

Local nonprofit or government agencies that have demonstrated the capacity to deliver food and/or shelter programs within Tompkins County are eligible to apply for funding. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program supports a limited list of activities related to food and housing services, so please be sure to read the application materials carefully before applying. A local board reviews applications and determines how funds will be distributed. 

If your organization is interested in applying, please review the materials at All applicants must contact John Mazzello at or 607-252-7214 before completing the application to confirm funding eligibility.

Applications are due by 5 pm on Monday, June 15. For more information, please see the formal funding announcement below.

Tompkins County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with the Advocacy Center, Catholic Charities, Child Development Council, Family & Children’s Service, Learning Web, Loaves and Fishes, OAR, Salvation Army, and Tompkins County Food Distribution Network most recently participating. These agencies were responsible for providing meals, pantry food, formula, shelter, and rental assistance for county residents.

Private voluntary non-profits or units of government interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact John Mazzello, Human Services Coalition, 607-252-7214 or for an application. Information is also available at The deadline for applications to be received is June 15, 2020.