Local News: March 29, 2024

- Tompkins County may pay for a support specialist for tenants of a private developer -

Tompkins County is considering hiring a specialist to help people transition from homelessness into properties owned by the Vecino Group. That’s the Missouri-based company that owns Ithaca ArtHaus and the soon-to-open Asteri on Green Street. The Ithaca Voice reports the county is considering the unusual step because it failed to find a local non-profit to host the position. The county set aside about $95,000 last year to fund the job.

- First of several new affordable housing units opens in Elmira -

The first of four new affordable housing buildings in Elmira opened on Thursday. The Elmira Star-Gazette reports Arbor Housing and Development is converting four abandoned historic buildings into a total of 41 housing units. Funding for the $20 million project comes from several sources including the city of Elmira and New York State. The other properties are expected to open this summer. 

- Advocates want Hochul to declare an addiction state of emergency -

Addiction treatment specialists and some lawmakers are asking Governor Hochul to declare an “addiction state of emergency” for the entire state. They say state support is needed to slow the ongoing rise in overdoses. The Albany Times Union reports the advocates say low health insurance reimbursement rates for treatment and a shortage of healthcare workers contribute to the problem. So far this year Tioga, Tompkins, and Steuben counties in our area have reported increases in opioid-related overdoses. In February, the Tompkins County Alcohol and Drug Council announced it would lay off most of its staff and end its harm reduction, prevention, counseling, and treatment services. Experts say the main reason for the overdose increase is the synthetic opioid fentanyl and the animal tranquilizer xylazine.

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