NEWFIELD, N.Y.—Second Wind Cottages has officially ditched its expansion attempt, announcing its withdrawal from the Tompkins County Recovery Fund application process.

Second Wind, a small housing development of 18 cottages located on a sizable patch of land behind founder Carmen Guidi’s auto body repair shop in Newfield, currently serves men who are battling housing instability and addiction issues. The organization had proposed an expansion of 25 small cabin-structures which would serve more of the same population, then decreased their ask to 12-15 cabins after resistance from local residents. Though softened a bit by the decrease, Town of Newfield officials and their constituents continued their vocal and strenuous objections to the plan.

Second Wind applied for funding from the Tompkins County Recovery Fund and were approved after some discussion and controversy, albeit with some more hoops to jump through than other projects.

Those opposed in Newfield, however, cited everything from not wanting to be the primary spot for the homeless population outside of Ithaca and how other municipalities should be involved, to concerns about the ability of emergency services to reach the relatively remote Second Wind property and how more people might exacerbate those concerns.

What followed next was rather curious: despite tentative funding approval from the Tompkins County Legislature in December, at a meeting earlier this month, Second Wind Executive Director David Shapiro publicly announced that the organization was withdrawing its application for the $510,000 in funding.

“People need what we’re offering, but we’re going to have to withdraw our application, and I just want to thank you for considering us […] I know the Town of Newfield’s position — that they don’t support us right now expanding — and that hurts. But what that tells me is that we have some more relationship-building to do,” Shapiro said at a meeting last week.

Then, though, the legislature proceeded to vote in favor of still providing the funding for Second Wind, deciding that the potential benefits of the project for the local population dealing with housing instability outweighed Newfield’s neighborhood and emergency service concerns.

Regardless, Second Wind announced via its Facebook page Tuesday, March 28, that it would be pulling back its proposal for any funding. The post blamed, in part, stigma against homelessness and addiction.

“Coming to this decision was difficult, but also is value driven,” read the statement. “Our organization and program model places significant value on being good neighbors and friends to people of all walks of life. Right now, some of our neighbors walking near us aren’t walking with us so we will lean on the proverb ‘let our yes’s be yes’s and our no’s be no’s’ and let the voices that continue speaking ill will about our guys represent themselves independently without our voices contributing to the negativity.”

That means the organization’s decision to withdraw leaves about half of a million dollars on the table, but the path to actual completion would have been difficult, with the potential to strongly rankle a municipality that Second Wind still has to coexist with. There had been at least some talk that Newfield would attempt a legal fight over the expansion—that never came to fruition but the point is now moot.

“Organizational values of being a good neighbor are high on our list of values,” Shapiro told The Ithaca Voice regarding the decision to withdraw the application. “Staying true to our decision last week (organizational integrity) [is] also a strong value.”

Newfield Town Supervisor Michael Allinger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tompkins County Legislator and Community Recovery Fund Advisory Committee chair Dan Klein said the group would be meeting to consider what to do with the now-available $510,000. No new applications are being accepted or considered, Klein said, and he asked those whose applications were unfunded or not fully funded to avoid putting additional pressure on legislators while the reallocation is under discussion.

“The Community Recovery Fund Advisory Committee will be meeting to discuss what to do with the remaining dollars,” Klein said. “We are not seeking new applications at this time. Before the awards were made in December, we had requested of applicants to not lobby the legislature. We felt we had all the information we needed in the applications themselves. Personally, I still feel that way, and I hope the applicants allow the legislature to do its work without trying to influence our decisions with lobbying.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief at The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at