The issue: Promoting stable communities and retaining a quality workforce
Most people would prefer to live near their workplace—and most employers see the benefit of having a nearby workforce. Pragmatic policies that promote these values have tremendous impact for employers, workforces and the communities that house them by contributing to more stable and productive workplaces and neighborhoods.
The solution: Employer-Assisted Housing
Employer-Assisted Housing is a pragmatic way for employers to attract and retain skilled workers and support their surrounding communities.
Since 2001, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been promoting Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH), a proven tool that improves communities and benefits employers. Through EAH, companies provide downpayment assistance to their employees to purchase or rent homes in or near communities where they work.
EAH can be designed to fit an employer's personnel objectives and budget. The cost to the employer varies based on the amount of financial assistance offered to employees, plus the costs of administration and housing counseling by a HUD-certified agency. Costs incurred by the employer can be offset by a tax credit that amounts to half of the total investment. Further tax deductions may be available to private or for-profit companies, and nonprofits may be able to sell or transfer their tax credits to another entity.
EAH requires only a limited time commitment from the employer during the initial set-up, when particulars like eligibility criteria and assistance amounts are determined. After that, the contracted housing counselor handles all administration.
The benefits: Dollars and sense
EAH lowers turnover rates
5.3% EAH employees
14.5% All employees
Aurora Medical Centers, average 2004-2007
MPC pairs Illinois employers with a nonprofit housing counselor from our network, which then help employers start and manage EAH benefits programs. Special state incentives, including tax credits for employers, make EAH a practical housing solution for communities and employers. Employers such as the University of Chicago and Medical Center, Loyola University and OTTO Engineering are anchoring community redevelopment by investing in their local housing markets and stabilizing neighborhoods, in part through EAH.
EAH can decrease employee turn over, improving employee retention. A study by Aurora Medical Centers, of Milwaukee, Wisc., found that their EAH employees had retention rates two to three times higher compared to their average employee or regionwide retention rates.
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