The Advocates: Employer-Assisted Housing

Government Solutions Are Not the Only Solutions

In the last two years, the cost of housing in the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester region has risen dramatically. The Chamber has heard consistently from our business leaders the challenges this creates for employee retention and talent recruitment. We continue to partner with local government to determine the best solutions for our region’s attainable housing crisis.

The Employer-Assisted Housing Workshop was born out of our partnership with the City of Charleston. With a predicted 26,000-34,000 unit shortage of rental units for those making under $35,000 projected by 2040, government solutions cannot be the only solutions.

Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) is growing in popularity and can be tailored to fit the needs of your employees and your business. A 2007 MetLife study found that when employees are highly satisfied with their benefits, 80 percent say they are satisfied with their jobs.  EAH programs provide employees the tools to purchase, rent or remain in a home.

Below are just a few examples of what these tools could be:Mortgage Assistance: Employers can provide down-payment assistance and/or closing costs. Loans are often zero percent interest and are forgiven over time, usually 5-10 years.

Mortgage Guarantee: Employers guarantee the employees’ mortgages against default.

Mortgage Insurance Assistance: Employer purchases mortgage insurance for the loan.

Individual Development or Matched Savings: Similar to a 401k model- employer sets up and funds down-payment savings account and matches employee contribution through payroll deduction.

Mortgage Buy-downs: funds are provided upfront to get the employee a lower interest rate.

Provide Gap Financing to Developers: covers the difference between the financing and the development costs.

Leverage Credit: allow developers to borrow more money or get better interest rates.

Provide Purchasing Guarantees: Helps developers get financing because the employer guarantees the purchase of any unsold units in a development.

Follow the links below to learn more about EAH:
Understanding Employer Assisted Housing
Employer Assisted Housing Initiative Guide

If you are interested in exploring EAH options for your business, please contact:

Matt Ojala, Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development  

Florence Peters, Housing Development Officer

A special thank you to the City of Charleston for providing our members with this important information!

Bailey Vincett, Government Relations Coordinator
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