The Metropolitan Planning Council is offering nationwide technical assistance for employers, communities and organizations to launch employer-assisted housing initiatives.
The Metropolitan Planning Council is ready to help employers, communities and organizations around the country launch employer-assisted housing initiatives. Employer-assisted housing is a proven public-private partnership that helps workers live closer to their jobs. It’s working for 50 employers in Illinois and we’d like to see it take hold in other places around the country.
Employer-assisted housing refers to a number of ways employers help employees with housing, including providing access to homeownership education, assisting with down payment, rent or savings, or investing in real estate development. Since the Council first introduced employer-assisted housing to one Chicago-area manufacturer in 2000, that successful program and partnerships with REACH Illinois housing counseling agencies and Housing Action Illinois have yielded impressive results.
The State of Illinois provides matching funds and tax credits for employer-assisted housing initiatives, more than 50 employers have signed on and saved on their recruitment and training costs, and 1,200 employees have been counseled, with over 500 successful buyers. An estimated $1.35 million in employer dollars went to help employees purchase homes in Illinois in 2005. As significant as this is, the most powerful accomplishments have been strategic.
During the last five years, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, representing all 272 Chicago-region municipalities, created a housing task force, and the State of Illinois adopted its first housing plan and passed several pieces of legislation to advance that plan. The Chicago Dept. of Housing, the Mayor’s Office, Ill. Housing Development Authority , the Ill. Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have all become active supporters of employer-assisted housing. From introducing businesses to employer-assisted housing to administering the state tax credits and matching funds, these partners have played key roles supporting the growth of employer-assisted housing in Illinois .
Looking to reproduce Illinois’ successes, the federal “Housing America’s Workforce Act” (S.1078 and H.R.1850) has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to encourage employer-assisted housing programs nationwide.
Employer-assisted housing has been a door-opener, engaging Illinois business leaders, policymakers, and the media in discussions about housing needs without fear of community opposition shutting the door. These conversations have already led to municipalities approving inclusionary housing ordinances, land trusts, and new affordable housing developments in expensive, job-rich communities.
For a modest fee, the Council offers a comprehensive package of technical assistance to help you:
§ Leverage outside investment.
§ Develop a strategic outreach plan to local employers.
§ Cultivate key spokespersons to champion the program.
§ Shape state legislation in support of EAH.
§ Implement a model EAH program.
§ Integrate EAH with other housing policies and programs.
For assistance with starting an employer-assisted housing program or more information, contact Samantha DeKoven at 312-863-6021.