In the Toolbox
This issue of In Focus highlights employer-assisted housing (EAH), a broad set of tools that employers can use to help their workers find decent, affordable homes within a reasonable commuting distance of the workplace. Employers can provide grants or loans to assist with downpayments (for homebuyers) or security deposits (for renters), offer homeownership education and counseling, and invest in the development of affordable homes in the community. State and local governments can increase employer involvement in housing through financial incentives, encourage employers to support policy changes that can help meet local needs and collaborate with organizations that work with interested employers to design and manage housing benefit programs.
EAH programs offer many benefits, including reducing workers' commute times and removing a major obstacle to new employee recruitment. EAH programs improve existing employee retention, morale and productivity. Employer involvement in housing initiatives can also contribute to community development in and around workplace facilities and be used as part of a neighborhood stabilization strategy in neighborhoods in need of reinvestment or areas with high rates of foreclosed properties, increasing the desirability of the surrounding environment.
Learn more about employer-assisted housing
"Out Loud" Podcast
This month's Out Loud podcast features an interview with Connie Ealey, Residential Assistance Coordinator at Funding Partners for Housing Solutions. Funding Partners for Housing Solutions is a community development financial institution that provides access to capital for low to moderate- income households to obtain affordable housing opportunities.
Laura Williams, research associate at the Center for Housing Policy, talks to Ealey about the benefits of employer assisted housing for workers in high-cost areas based on her experience in resort communities in Colorado. Ealey describes the success of a downpayment assistance program that Funding Partners administers, and how it can enable employees to live near work.
Listen to the Podcast
Solutions in Action
In 2003, the Delaware State Housing Authority launched a Live Near Your Work program to leverage public funds. Employers contribute $1,000 per participating employee which is then supplemented with an equivalent state contribution. The local community might then supply additional matching funds if it is also a program participant. Slightly higher grants are available for homes purchased in targeted revitalization areas. In order to receive assistance through the program, homes must be located within a three mile radius of the workplace.
Learn More about this Solution in Action
|Share Your Story|
How can we get more employers to adopt employer-assisted housing strategies? The math, generally, seems to work out in their favor, and the loyalty and stability it brings to their workforce is not something to ignore. So why don't more employers participate? Is this a failure of marketing by workforce housing advocates? What are some better ways to approach and work with employers about starting a workforce housing program?
Join our Affordable Housing- General discussion group on the HousingPolicy.org Forum to respond to this question or add your own. Share your experiences with fellow housing practitioners across the country!
Visit the Forum to Share Your Story
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|Resources from Regional Policy Forums on Workforce Housing Now Available!|
View PowerPoint presentations, video clips and other resources that address workforce housing from four Bring Workers Homeregional policy forums. Throughout 2010, the National Housing Conference (NHC) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) partnered to host the Bring Workers Home regional policy forum series in Atlanta, GA; Minneapolis, MN; Austin, TX and Honolulu, HI. Each Bring Workers Home regional forum explored how to create and sustain a workforce housing program, the importance of regional partnerships in advancing workforce housing, employers' perspectives and how practitioners and advocates manage successful workforce housing strategies.
Click here to view the Bring Workers Home resources
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Westcott Ridge, Fairfax, VA
Photo Credit Curtis Hall, 2007