WASHINGTON — The National Housing Conference (NHC) released an Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) online toolkit to help employers use housing assistance to reduce turnover and increase retention, save money on recruiting and training, and increase employee productivity and morale. The toolkit also explores challenges with EAH programs—such as scalability, tax implications, and marketing—and provides potential solutions.
In every state, people with a wide range of occupations cannot afford to buy a home. As of 2022, the average American renter spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Housing costs contributed to hiring challenges in high-growth areas. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), as many as 67 percent of employers reported home prices and rental costs affect their ability to recruit qualified candidates.
NHC’s EAH Toolkit includes a step-by-step process for employers to craft an EAH program, including considerations and recommendations to ensure it is effective and sustainable for each unique organization. The toolkit focuses on direct cash assistance and low-cost or forgivable loans offered to employees. Some of the most beneficial and effective EAH programs provide downpayment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers in the form of a loan forgiven over time if the employee remains at the organization. EAH programs may also include other supply-side assistance methods, such as cash contributions to development projects, land donations, construction financing, investment in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and more.
The toolkit outlines several case studies, including The University of Southern California (USC) Neighborhood Homeownership Program. According to a USC representative, around 2,000 employees used its programs since they began and default rates on the loans are very low. The program is currently considering expanding its neighborhood boundaries to offer more housing inventory.
Many EAH programs are centered around the public sector, anchor institutions, and community service professions such as police, firefighters, and teachers. A larger scope of employers could leverage EAH as an opportunity to provide impactful benefits to employees and a competitive advantage in employee retention.
The EAH Toolkit can be found at https://nhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/EAH-Toolkit.pdf. For more information on EAH programs, contact Brittany Webb and ">.
Founded in 1931, the National Housing Conference is the oldest and broadest housing coalition in America. NHC is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders who convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest—an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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