Public Housing

The Public Housing (PH) program is a subsidized housing program which allows qualified participants the opportunity to rent housing units that are owned by Ithaca Housing Authority with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Ithaca Housing Authority currently owns and maintains 235 Public Housing units located at Titus Towers.


Waiting List

The need for rental assistance in Tompkins County outweighs the funding that is provided to us from HUD, so therefore IHA uses a waiting list to administer program assistance to qualified applicants as it becomes available.

The first step to apply for Public Housing (PH) assistance is to complete a preliminary waiting list application.

PHAs are permitted to establish local preferences and to give priority to serving families that meet those criteria. HUD specifically authorizes and places restrictions on certain types of local preferences. HUD also permits the PHA to establish other local preferences, at its discretion. The following preferences will be assigned to all IHA PH applicants:

A residency preference for a family that resides in Tompkins County, or includes a family member who works, or has been notified that they are hired to work, in Tompkins County will receive preference over non-local applicants.

It is very important to provide IHA with any updates that may occur with your mailing address, household composition, or significant income changes while you are on the waiting list. Therefore, if you have any changes to report, please contact our agency to request a “waiting list update form”. Please be aware that if we are unable to reach you via USPS mail, then you may be in jeopardy of being removed from the waiting list.

Pre-Screening/Eligibility Process

When your name reaches the top of the waiting list, you will be notified via USPS mail and invited to attend a pre-screening meeting. At that meeting, we will be verifying information regarding your family composition, your income and assets, your status of previous assistance (if any) with a HCV or PH program, your residency status, and your household’s citizenship or legal immigration status.  In addition, we will be conducting a rental history screening and criminal background inquiry for all members of the household age 18 and over.


If you are found eligible for Public Housing and offered one of our units, then you must sign a lease and provide a security deposit (equivalent to one month’s rent portion that will be assigned) before you move into the unit. Public housing leases are the contractual basis of the legal relationship between the PHA and the tenant and have rules set forth in accordance with HUD regulations.

A copy of IHA’s Public Housing lease is provided here.

Pet Policy

All pets must be registered and approved by IHA before they are brought onto the premises. In addition, a pet lease must be signed and a $100 pet deposit must be provided (for cats and dogs).

IHA permits PH tenants to have no more than 1 pet per household and it must be classified as a “common household pet” as defined as:

Common household pet means a domesticated animal, such as a dog, cat, bird, or fish that is traditionally recognized as a companion animal and is kept in the home for pleasure rather than commercial purposes.

The following animals are not considered common household pets: Reptiles, Rodents, Insects, Arachnids, Wild animals or feral animals, Pot-bellied pigs, or Animals used for commercial breeding.

The following animals are not permitted:

-any animal whose adult weight will exceed 25 pounds
-Dogs of the pit bull, rottweiler, chow, or boxer breeds
-ferrets or other animals whose natural protective mechanisms pose a risk to small children of serious bites or lacerations
-Any animal not permitted under state or local law or code

Assistance Animals:

For an animal to be excluded from the pet policy and be considered an assistance animal, there must be a person with disabilities in the household, and the family must request and the PHA approve a reasonable accommodation in accordance with IHA policies.

Subsidy Standards/Unit Size

IHA will assign the number of bedroom(s) you qualify for based on your family size.

IHA will determine the bedroom size by using the following guidelines:

  • Children of the same sex age 12 years of age and older will not be required to share a bedroom.
  • Children of the same gender with an age difference exceeding 5 years will be allocated separate bedrooms.
  • Children of the opposite sex will not be required to share a bedroom.
  • Adults and children will not be required to share a bedroom.
  • Foster-adults and children will not be required to share a bedroom with family members.
  • Live-in aides will get a separate bedroom.
  • Unrelated adults of the same gender (non-spouse, non-co-head) will be allocated separate bedrooms.

Flat Rent vs. Income-Based Rent

Once each year, the PHA must offer families the choice between a flat rent and an income-based rent. The family may not be offered this choice more than once a year.

Flat Rent prices are based upon the market rent charged for comparable units in the private unassisted rental market.  IHA flat rent prices are based upon the Fair Market Rent (FMR) figures for Tompkins County that are released by HUD annually.

Income-Based Rent is a tenant rent portion that is assigned based upon the family’s income and the total tenant payment that is assigned.

The total tenant payment (TTP) represents the minimum amount a family must contribute towards rent and utilities regardless of the unit selected. The TTP is calculated using a statutory formula created by HUD and individual income information.  To calculate TTP, annual adjusted income and annual gross income must be converted to monthly adjusted income and monthly adjusted gross income by dividing the annual figured by 12 months.

TTP is the greater of:

  • 30% of monthly adjusted income (gross income – applicable deductions)
  • 10% of monthly gross income
  • Welfare rent (if your household receives public assistance)
  • IHA’s minimum rent amount of $50

The HUD assigned formula to calculate PH rent is provided here.


Annual Re-examinations

Once you become a PH tenant, IHA must conduct a reexamination of family income and composition at least annually. This includes gathering and verifying current information about family composition, income, and expenses. Based on this updated information, the family’s income and rent must be recalculated.

Annual Inspections

HUD regulations require the PHA to inspect each dwelling unit prior to move-in, at move-out, and annually during occupancy. In addition, the PHA may require additional inspections, in accordance with PHA Policy.

Interim Changes (add/remove household members, add/remove income)

Family circumstances may change throughout the period between annual reexaminations. Once you become a PH tenant, you will be required to report changes with your household composition and income within 10 days. Based on this updated information, the family’s income and rent may need to be recalculated.

Community Service

Federal law requires that adult public housing residents provide eight hours of Community Service or engage in eight hours of Economic Self-Sufficiency activity each month. This requirement is a condition of tenancy unless the resident qualifies for an exemption.

Community Service is defined by law as the performance of voluntary work or duties that are a public benefit and that serve to improve the quality of life, enhance resident self-sufficiency, or increase resident self-responsibility in the community. Community Service is not employment and may not include political activities.

Economic Self-Sufficiency is defined as any program that is designed to encourage, assist, train or facilitate the economic independence of its participants and their families.

Exempt Individuals:

-Currently engaged in work activities of 20 hours/week or more
-Age 62 or Older
-Blind or Disabled (as defined under section 216(i)(l) or 1614 of the Social Security Act
-Is the Primary Caretaker of Blind or Disabled Household Member
-Currently participating in a Welfare-to-Work (TANF or SNAP) Program

IHA’s community service policy may be found here.


If you or anyone in your family is a person with disabilities, and you require a specific accommodation in order to fully utilize our program and services, please contact Ithaca Housing Authority at 607-273-8629.


IHA will take affirmative steps to communicate with people who need services or information in a language other than English. Please contact Ithaca Housing Authority at 607-273-8629 if require a LEP accommodation.


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Our Rentals

IHA-Owned Public Housing Properties:

Titus Towers

Includes 223 one bedroom apartments and 12 handicap accessible one bedroom units.  A single bedroom unit contains approximately 550 square feet of living space.  Floor plans are available upon request or from our downloads page.  Although not all buildings are designed the same, they generally feature:

  • A centrally located community room with a fully equipped kitchen
  • Laundry facilities
  • Intercom systems
  • Key Fob Security System
  • Assigned Parking Spaces
  • Storage space
  • Tubs and/or showers
  • Fire suppression sprinkler systems
  • Emergency lighting systems
  • Doors with peep holes
  • Emergency assist alarms
  • Cable TV hookups
  • Refuse Rooms on each floor
  • Chapel
  • Activities Room
  • Hair Salon
  • 14th Floor Observation Room
  • TV Room
  • Conference Room
  • 24 Hour on call Maintenance

    The Housing Authority furnishes:

    • Appliances
    • Some window treatments
    • Common area furniture
    • Carpeted and/or tile floor

    Families are housed in accordance with the Authority’s occupancy standards in two, three, four, or five bedroom units.

    Office Hours:

    Monday - Friday
    8:30am – 11:30am
    1:00pm – 3:30pm
    (Closed for major federal holidays.)

    Drop box is always available.

    Contact Info:

    Phone: (607) 273-8629
    Fax: (607) 273-5738

    After Hours Maintenance Emergencies:

    Phone: (607) 882-7656

    IHA Hearing Impaired Line:

    Phone: (800) 662-1220

    We Are Located: