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NAR Awards Nearly $5 Million in Workforce Housing Grants

WASHINGTON, DC – May 12, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Realtors® strive to preserve and expand housing opportunities in communities across the country, and the National Association of Realtors® supported many of these efforts through the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants. NAR issued a final report, “Tackling Workforce Housing State by State,” on the grant program results today at the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

“Realtors® build communities and care about housing availability for working families within those communities,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Through the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants, Realtor® associations helped strengthen affordable housing opportunities for working families, which in turn stimulated the local economy in those communities. I am proud of the outcome of this grant program and am confident that the projects and initiatives that were created will continue to impact families and communities nationwide.”

Launched by NAR in 2009, the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants were intended to stimulate Realtors®’ efforts to address the growing need for affordable workforce housing and help position Realtors® as leaders on this issue. The program provided grants of between $50,000-$400,000 to state and territory Realtor® associations. By the time the program ended in December 2010, 52 Realtor® associations had been awarded grants totaling $4.93 million.

The final report was released during the Housing Opportunities Committee meeting and provides an analysis of the program and its results, along with profiles of each of the 52 programs funded. Case studies on each program provide contact information, steps taken to create specific projects, as well as details on partnerships.

Grantees chose from six different project types to implement: community outreach; financial assistance; home buyer education; Realtor® professional development; website development; and construction, rehabilitation, repair, and redevelopment. However, many projects encompassed more than one type. Home buyer education was often paired with Realtor® professional development initiatives, as many projects included Realtor® education that trainees could then share with prospective home buyers.

The most popular project type was community outreach, which included a range of activities such as advocacy, policy development, and public awareness. Financial assistance was another common project type that most typically involved a financial award such as down payment or closing cost assistance for home buyers.

In a March 2011 grantee survey, Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grant recipients said the program offered their associations new leadership opportunities in their local communities. Others described enhanced relationships between state and local Realtor® associations. Grantees also reported that the grants gave Realtors® the opportunity to promote a positive image in their communities and create new partnerships with local organizations.

“This program’s overarching goal was to encourage Realtor® associations to approach the issue of workforce housing availability strategically, and to foster initiatives with the potential for long-term sustainability,” said Phipps. “This report demonstrates that grantees did just that and much more. They made a lasting impact on their communities while helping increase home ownership opportunities for all Americans.”

In addition to the final grant report, two courses were offered to Realtors® and association staff during this year’s Midyear Legislative Meetings focused on employer-assisted housing and expanding housing opportunities. The Employer-Assisted Housing course helps Realtors® develop strategies and tactics for working with local employers to promote home ownership, benefits of employer-assisted housing, and options employers can implement to help their employees become home owners. The Expanding Housing Opportunities course is designed to educate NAR members and staff on the benefits of housing opportunities, teach them how to build partnerships through advocacy, and make them aware of specific housing opportunity initiatives.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Leanne Jernigan 202/383-1290