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MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Donnelly, President, Stephen Donnelly & Associates | [email protected], 719-337-8238

Rent Increase Could Force Tioga County Non-Profit to Suspend Its Services

As Catholic Charities faces a 171% rent increase, community members are encouraged to voice their concerns at a Nichols Town Board Meeting on December 13

Nichols, NY (December 11, 2022)—As community organizations across our region are working around the clock to ensure area families have a happy holiday season, Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga (CCTT) has been hit with an almost three-fold rent increase that puts in jeopardy its ability to provide services in Tioga County.

CCTT has leased a building at 139 Roki Boulevard in Nichols, NY for the past 10 years. The space serves as the organization’s Tioga Office, where free meals, pantry staples, and gently used clothing items are provided to people in Nichols, Barton, Waverly, and Owego. CCTT also assists community members with back rent, security deposits, food stamps, employment services, gas cards, small home repairs, and prescriptions. The organization closes out the year by distributing back-to-school supplies, Thanksgiving baskets, and holiday gifts to families in need.

In 2017, the Town of Nichols purchased the Roki Boulevard building from the Tioga Central School District and became CCTT’s new landlord. In 2019, CCTT signed a five-year lease with the Town, agreeing to pay $1,476 for the use of six classrooms each month, which totals $17,712 per year. This breaks down to $246 per room per month, or $3.29 per square foot each month.

CCTT also utilizes the building’s kitchen to serve free meals to the community. In 2019, CCTT Executive Director Renee Spear presented to the Nichols Town Board the idea of using the space to serve meals four days a week, with a once-a-month sit-down meal that would give seniors in the community an opportunity to socialize over a home-cooked meal.

The Town Board approved CCTT’s use of the kitchen free of charge under the condition that CCTT would replace any necessary equipment and have it certified. In the two years that followed, CCTT applied for grant money and used the funds to replace the oven, freezers, and refrigerator; all of the new appliances were also certified.

Last month, CCTT was informed that its rent would increase to $4,029 per month, or $48,352 per year, which is more than 2.75 times what the non-profit has paid in past years. Under the new lease, CCTT will now pay for use of the kitchen space. Classroom rent increases to $576 per room per month, or $8 per square foot each month. The organization was made aware of the increase on November 30, 2022 after its 2023 budget, which includes all grant activity, had been finalized.

The Nichols building has no mortgage. The only costs associated with the space are insurance, utilities, and some staffing for grounds work.

The Nichols Town Court and the Tioga County Historical Society occupy offices at 139 Roki Boulevard but do not pay rent. Nichols’ Town Offices will also be moving into the building, occupying seven offices or half of the space. This leaves two organizations, Catholic Charities and Tioga Downs, left to pay for the lease of the building.

Officials from Catholic Charities are available for interviews to discuss the impact of a rent increase on its services in Tioga County. Please contact Stephen Donnelly and Associates to coordinate.

ABOUT CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF TOMPKINS/TIOGA: The mission of CCTT is to support all people in need and advocate for social justice and human dignity in partnership with the Diocese of Rochester and the greater community. CCTT works in partnership with local human service agencies, community coalitions, local faith communities and interfaith groups, addressing gaps in service in a collaborative fashion, to respond to urgent needs of individuals, families, and the community. We have a history of helping all those in need with great empathy and compassion.



Currently, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services is conducting a major development project on the block of our Ithaca Office. We will remain open, and we will be staying at our current location.

The free clothing closets at our Ithaca and Nichols offices are open.

Due to space limitations and limited volunteer hours:

We are not accepting any donations of clothing at our Ithaca office.

We are accepting one big bag of clean clothing per family per month at our Nichols office.

Nichols hours of operation for food pantry and Diane’s Boutique, which distributes free clothing and other goods
Tuesday-Friday from 9:00am – 11:45am and 1:00pm – 2:45pm

Ithaca hours of operation for free clothing closet:
Tuesday-Friday from 1:00pm-3:30pm

Only one family will be permitted in at a time into the pantry and clothing closet.  All visitors will be required to wear face masks and to undergo a temperature check and answer a COVID-19 questionnaire.

If you work for a social service agency, kindly make this clear to your participants when making referrals.  Our phone number for both offices is 607-272-5062.

People who are struggling still need your solidarity.  We hope and trust that you will continue to stand with our neighbors in need.  Thank you for being part of Catholic Charities!

Prudence, care and love will get us through this together.