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Executive Director

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services  ·  Ithaca, NY  ·  Posted on April 24


Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) seeks an Executive Director to lead our organization and its affiliates into an exciting period of growth and change. INHS is an established and well-regarded nonprofit social enterprise that is dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods and helping people of modest incomes find—and stay in—high-quality housing in a seven-county area in upstate New York. INHS’s current Executive Director, Paul Mazzarella, who has successfully led INHS for 26 years, plans to retire at the end of 2017. 

The Organization and Its Impact
INHS began as an early Neighborhood Housing Services program in 1977, aiming to stop neighborhood decline in the city of Ithaca’s blue collar neighborhoods by renovating dilapidated homes and increasing low and moderate income homeownership. INHS later expanded into affordable rental housing production and property management. Our services have grown almost continuously since the early 1990s, as the affordable housing issues in the region have increased. Better Housing of Tompkins County (BHTC), which served the County surrounding Ithaca since 1981, joined with INHS as an affiliate in 2015. Together, INHS and BHTC (hereinafter referred to collectively as INHS) expanded our service area to include Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Seneca, Schuyler, and Tioga counties.

Today, INHS builds new affordable housing, renovates older homes, manages property, provides grants and low-interest loans for home purchase and renovation, educates and counsels first-time homebuyers, and assists seniors with small home repairs. Key achievements in our forty-year history include:

  • Rental housing production—created 733 units, with 107 new rental units currently under construction and 185 units in predevelopment.
  • New single family homes—built 42 Energy Star or LEED-certified new single family homes, with seven homes under construction and sixteen in predevelopment. Homes have been and will be sold to low income first-time homebuyers and placed into a Community Housing Trust to ensure long-term affordability.
  • Home renovation—acquired, renovated, and sold 166 housing units, primarily in Ithaca’s Southside and Northside neighborhoods, with two homes in predevelopment. These homes have been or will be sold to low income first-time homebuyers and placed into the Community Housing Trust.
  • Property management—manage 361 residential, community and commercial units in 33 locations.
  • Homebuyer lending—issued approximately 1,000 loans to first-time homebuyers totaling nearly $18 million.
  • Home improvement loans—provided $15 million in home improvement loans and related project management services to 1,000 low and moderate income clients.
  • Homebuyer education—counseled more than 4,600 first-time homebuying households.
  • Repairs—made close to 8,000 repairs for elderly and disabled homeowners, allowing people to remain in their homes.

INHS is financially stable, with a 2017 operating budget of $3.15 million and over $28 million in total assets. Subsidiaries controlled by INHS and BHTC own real estate that is valued at over $22 million.

Key Challenges and Opportunities
Growth and change in the region and in the service area—Tompkins County has a vibrant economy and a high quality of life. It is one of the only counties in upstate New York with a strong job market and increasing population. Rapidly rising housing prices in the County have brought concerns over gentrification and housing affordability. The surrounding counties are more rural in character and have not enjoyed the same level of economic growth. Fifteen thousand people commute long distances to jobs in Tompkins County, largely because the housing in Tompkins County is not affordable to them. INHS seeks to thoughtfully extend its services to the surrounding counties while continuing to address the challenges of providing more affordable housing and related services in Tompkins County.

Community relations locally and nationally—INHS has enjoyed strong community support, and effective partnerships with government agencies in Ithaca, Tompkins County, and New York state as well as with such local institutions as Cornell University, Ithaca College, and local banks and credit unions. INHS’s Executive Director has been the key spokesperson for affordable housing in the area. However, as INHS has developed larger rental properties, some community members have expressed concern regarding the scale and appropriateness of affordable housing in particular locations. Also, residents of some of the surrounding counties see themselves as quite different from the residents of Tompkins County. As INHS expands, we must acknowledge these different points of view. INHS’s current Executive Director has been active on the boards of national and state NeighborWorks affiliates. We aim to continue to bring the benefit of strong national and statewide relationships to our region.

Internal leadership and management—INHS staff enjoy a collegial working environment. There is a strong sense of trust among the Executive Director, senior staff, and the board of directors. Many of the 12 board and 36 staff members have been with INHS or BHTC for a long time. Staff have been working to integrate the organizational cultures of INHS and BHTC, and to update organizational systems as we grow. INHS has had a strong and committed board with many long-time members. As board members retire, we are in the process of adding new leaders who represent the region.

Our Ideal Candidate
Our ideal candidate for Executive Director is a strong and experienced leader who is motivated to direct INHS in its next phase of growth. They will enthusiastically embrace this opportunity to make an impact in our seven-county region, and demonstrate many of the following skills and qualifications.

Leadership for growth—INHS’s next Executive Director will be an entrepreneurial leader with strong strategic thinking and risk management skills. They will identify and act on opportunities. The new Executive Director will understand growth and change in complex mission-driven nonprofits. They will be adaptable and creative, able to take the long view while evaluating successes and failures along the way.

Understanding of INHS’s core business and strategy—We seek a leader who understands community development and is driven to improve the quality of life for low and moderate income and disenfranchised community members, in urban and rural settings. They should bring significant experience in at least one of the areas of real estate development, community development lending, property management or asset management. They will appreciate all aspects of our business and our strategic plan.

Finance and fundraising—Our next Executive Director will have established relationships with some of the core affordable housing and community development funders locally and/or nationally. They will have raised funds from a variety of sources, and be motivated to lead fundraising activities for INHS. They will bring an in-depth understanding of financial management in multifaceted nonprofits and a keen interest in maintaining INHS’s financial health.

External leadership and political skills—INHS’s new Executive Director will carefully balance varying community perceptions of affordable housing, communicating complex information in a sensitive manner. They will create and maintain strong relationships across the region, the state, and the nation. Our ideal candidate will enjoy building community and demonstrate cultural competency in dealing with people from a range of backgrounds and experiences. They will listen carefully and express themselves comfortably one-on-one, in public forums, in writing, and on social media.

Internal leadership and management skills—We seek a leader who has served as an Executive Director or a senior manager. They should demonstrate strong people management skills and enjoy communicating with and empowering staff. Our new Executive Director will establish trust and respect and support ongoing growth at the board and staff levels. They will ensure that organizational systems and structures align with the needs of a growing staff in multiple locations.

Education and work experience—INHS’s next Executive Director will bring a minimum of ten years of relevant work experience, at least five of which will be at the senior management or Executive Director level. They will hold a Master’s degree in city planning, business, real estate, or a related field.

The Selection Process
Please submit a cover letter, detailing your interest and qualifications for this position, as well as your salary requirements and an up-to-date resume to: Ann L. Silverman Consulting, IthacaNHSExecutive@gmail.com. No phone calls or letters please.
All applications will be reviewed and acknowledged as they are received. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services expects to begin in-person interviews by July of 2017, and to fill this position before the end of 2017.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services is an equal opportunity employer.