Employers in high-cost-of-living areas report increasing difficulty attracting workers due to high housing costs.
Housing policy is typically outside the scope for workforce and economic development agencies, making it difficult to address these challenges for local workers and businesses in their communities.
Research from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows how worthwhile it is to address these challenges. This research shows that access to stable housing helps decrease economic stress and food insecurity, keeps families together, reduces the likelihood that children end up in the child welfare system, reduces the rate of domestic violence and alcohol dependency and improves school performance for children.
Why This Matters
Homeownership has long been one of the primary ways working families can build generational wealth, but it is increasingly out of reach. Owning a home is a stable expenses compared to rent that may increase year by year. Jobs that offer opportunities for homeownership can help workers achieve financial stability and build wealth and they can increase retention for employers. Workforce and economic development agencies can help advance homeownership incentive programs for working families by connecting their programs to local resources, helping their own employees buy homes and advocating for policy change to increase housing affordability.
Workforce and economic development agencies can support and partner with employer-assisted housing (EAH) to address workforce housing issues.
This intervention provides workforce and economic development agencies with ideas to strengthen workforce housing and homeownership benefits in service delivery models, incorporating EAH within their own benefits packages and supporting policies and practices to promote workforce housing solutions for local workers and employers.
Employer-assisted housing can increase employee retention, loyalty and productivity along with improving morale and employee work/life balance and decreasing absenteeism. It can also help revitalize the area where companies are located, boosting the local economy and increasing the value of the company’s real estate assets. It can also be used as an incentive for essential hard to fill roles at your agency.
Recommended actions can help workforce and economic development agencies advance strategies to finance their job quality strategy for the long term.