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Employer-Assisted Housing

A pragmatic solution for communities and employers

MPC promotes this proven strategy for workforce housing by pairing regional employers with nonprofit housing counselors to provide homeownership counseling and financial assistance to employees to purchase or rent homes in or near communities where they work.

Attracting and retaining a quality workforce

Our guidebook makes it easy for employers to offer EAH—and enjoy its benefits.

When looking for a home, many people would prefer to live near their workplace—and most employers see the benefits of having a nearby workforce, including reduced costs of absenteeism and turnover.

But a host of factors, ranging from a individual’s credit history to the high cost of housing, too often prevent that from happening. The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is advancing a number of strategies to help people, businesses and communities overcome these challenges, including through our Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) initiative.

Employer-Assisted Housing

Since 2001, MPC has been promoting EAH, a proven strategy that extends housing affordability for employees while enhancing the competitiveness of businesses. Through EAH, companies provide homeownership counseling and financial assistance to employees who 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 (which is provided by a HUD-certified agency). Special state incentives, including tax credits and matching funds, make EAH financially attractive for employers.

EAH requires a very limited time commitment from the employer during the initial set-up, when particulars like eligibility criteria and assistance amounts are determined. MPC pairs employers with a nonprofit housing counselor from our network, who handles all administration from then on.

Our guidebook makes it easy for employers to offer EAH—and enjoy its benefits.

Dollars and sense

Employers such as the University of Chicago and Medical Center, Loyola University and Robinson Engineering are enjoying the range of benefits that result from EAH:

Recruitment: Offering EAH makes employers more competitive and attracts talented workers.

Retention: Employee turnover is expensive: Human resource studies have shown that it can cost companies between 50 percent and 400 percent of an employee’s salary to replace him or her, making proactive retention strategies essential for an employer’s bottom line.

EAH lowers turnover rates

5.3% EAH employees

14.5% All employees
Aurora Medical Centers, average 2004-2007

EAH is proven to increase retention, ultimately reducing turnover costs. Both the structure of the forgivable loan and the increased employee loyalty and satisfaction motivate employees to maintain their relationship with the employer. A study by Aurora Medical Centers, of Milwaukee, Wisc., found that their EAH employees had retention rates two to three times greater than their average employee or regionwide retention rates.

Revitalization: When employers are located in or near an economically distressed community, the homeownership and investment that EAH promotes can be a part of anchoring and revitalizing that community.

Relations: Because EAH strengthens the community surrounding an employer, it can create a bond or improve the existing relationship between an employer and its neighbors.