Chicago Public Schools' employer-assisted housing (EAH) program demonstrates the value of counseling and employer support.
housing crisis has not dampened participation in the Chicago Public Schools' Teacher
Homebuyer Assistance Program. The number of
buyers who purchased in 2006 and 2007 stayed relatively the same, despite
concerns that the slowing housing market would interfere with the program. According to a data
analysis by MPC, buyers in 2007 were able
to purchase more single-family homes, with more incentives from the sellers, banks and
government sources. “More importantly, we know that our teachers are secure in
their purchases and understand the responsibilities of homeownership” said CPS
CEO Arne Duncan.
As CPS Teacher Housing Director
Diana Johnson explained, “The Board of Education launched this program in April
of 2005 as a strategy for improving teacher retention. We’d found that if we can bridge
a teacher through a fifth year at
CPS, then we’ve likely secured a career teacher.”
launch, the CPS program has helped 524 teachers buy homes in the city of
With the idea of teacher retention in mind, the assistance is given in the form of a
forgivable loan. As long as the teacher remains an employee of CPS and stays in
the home for five years, the loan is forgiven.
Rogers Park Community Development Corporation
provides homebuyer education and counseling that is essential to
the sucessful EAH program, ensuring the employees make sound decisions, understand
the various lender programs available to them, and leverage the CPS support
to obtain additional financial assistance.
counseling is critical to ensuring that teachers not only understand the
process, but know how to protect themselves and their investments once they purchase.
The teachers have been able to take advantage of a buyers market and not only get good
homes, but better financing as well,” said Caleb Sjoblum of Rogers Park CDC.
To date, there has been only one teacher who has had any problems
maintaining the home purchased through the program, and 12 who have left CPS employment.
The Chicago Public Schools' Teacher
s Homebuyer Assistance
Program was structured with financial support from the City of Chicago Dept. of Housing
Partnership for New
Communities, as well as the technical assistance from MPC.
MPC also helped CPS obtain and sell state EAH tax credits . This was
a key incentive for CPS to create a program because it helped the district
recapture a portion of its investment. CPS received tax credits on the
first $500,000 invested in EAH, which sold for about $200,000, thus reducing
the cost of the program by 40 percent.
of CPS' program, particularly in this housing market, underscores what an incredibly
effective workforce stability tool EAH can be," said Robin Snyderman, MPC vice president
of community development. "Beyond achieving its original teacher retention goals, the CPS story
is also about how EAH prevents employees from falling prey to predator loans or, worse,