Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) is a term used to describe a variety of housing benefits employers can offer to help their workforce afford homes. Today, communities across the country are faced with increasing pressure to provide more affordable workforce housing. Employers working in partnership with their communities can help to address the affordable housing shortage resulting in stable workforce and a healthy local economy. An EAH program can be a cost-effective way to help improve employee recruitment, retention, productivity and morale, thereby improving the employer’s bottom line
Originally conceived as a toll for recruiting senior executives, many companies now offer some type of housing assistance across their pool of employees. This trend is driven by factors affecting employees such as the persistent disparity between housing costs and wages, long and costly commutes and the desire to achieve an improved work-life balance. For employers, ongoing and anticipated challenges in hiring and retaining workers, and the desire to increase employee productivity and morale makes EAH programs attractive.
How does EAH work?
Successful EAH plans should involve a team including the employer, a Realtor®, a lender and non-profit organization. The employer offers the employee a benefit, often in the form of a forgivable, deferred or repayable second loan, a grant , a matched savings plan or home-buyer education that helps the employee prepare for homeownership.
The lender provides the first mortgage underwriting and origination and manages the relationship with the employee.
The Realtor® works with the employer to provide homeownership education and can help the employer set up an EAH plan.
The non-profit organization can provide one-on-one counseling including resolving credit issues to help the employee become mortgage ready.
The employee, who is the potential home buyer, participates by applying for the benefit, meeting the criteria set by the employer to receive the benefit and fulfilling the necessary qualifications to become a home buyer.
Although EAH is used mostly to help and employee buy a home, the employer also can offer and EAH benefit to help the employee with rental housing. Also, in response to the continuing mortgage crisis, some employers have begun to offer employees funding to help them meet increased mortgage requirements and to assist them in keeping their home.
Why do employers participate in EAH benefits?
Improve employee retention
Reduce recruitment and training costs
Provide a benefits package with a competitive edge
Subsidize assistance for relocation employees
Reduce commutes, stress and absenteeism for staff
Access State and federal tax benefits
Leverage state assistance for employees
Facilitate Community reinvestment
How does EAH benefit the Community?
Increase tax base because of increased homeownership
Increase in business for banks, lenders, realtors and local business
Greater community involvement due to increased homeownership
Community revitalization tool
Increased stability in neighborhood
Offers Incentives for New Businesses to Move to a Community
Reduces Commuting & Traffic Congestion
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