Employer-assisted housing (EAH) is a cost effective, easy to administer, hassle free way for employers to help their employees buy or rent homes close to work.
National data shows that when employees are not able to live close to where they work, their long commutes contribute to traffic congestion, increased cost, dependence on foreign oil, and air pollution.
Businesses suffer lower productivity and higher turnover when the employees live in unstable or unaffordable communities or face greater challenges to keeping the homes they live in.
In Nevada, the HOPE Home Foundation and several EAH task force partners make it easy and financially compelling for employers to offer EAH programs to their employees. These local housing experts administer the program, provide homeownership education and financial counseling, and manage the down payment or rental assistance provided by employers. The employer is not obligated to provide direct financial assistance.
Special incentives, including matching funds, make the HOPE Home Foundation’s “Under One Roof” program even more compelling.
There are opportunities to help workers with rental housing and those who may be facing foreclosure as well.
In recent years, employers and employees have experienced tremendous advantages through EAH, including:
• Improved employee retention, loyalty and productivity.
• Reduced employee commutes, stress, absenteeism, recruitment and training costs.
• A benefits package with a competitive edge.
• Strengthened financial stability for workers.
• Increased political, business, and community support for housing options.
• Leveraged federal , state and local assistance assistance for employees.
Employer-assisted housing has proven an effective strategy in cities, suburbs, and rural areas to help stabilize neighborhoods and overcome expensive housing markets. Participating employers represent nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors.
How the EAH model works
Down payment assistance is usually structured as a five-year forgivable loan and secured by a lien on the new home. The State of Illinois has become a national leader of employer-assisted housing, providing a 50 percent tax credit for every dollar that an employer invests in the EAH program, and matching down payment assistance provided to eligible employees. These incentives have made employer-assisted housing a very attractive and cost-effective program. There are several successful models that businesses have used across the nation . In Nevada, the HOPE Home Foundation is advocating legislation that creates incentives for employers .
Federal policies, including energy, climate change, and transportation provide new opportunities to link housing and transportation investments. Bills being considered can offer incentives for creating workforce housing near transit and jobs and for investing in infrastructure that supports workforce housing. This policy will provide a sound approach to climate change, reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve access to transit, and reduce the total housing-transportation costs borne by working families.