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Employer-Assisted Housing Guide

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As we work to address the housing crisis, we need all hands on deck to create and implement innovative housing solutions that suit the needs of hard-working Michiganders. Employer-assisted and workforce housing are essential to the creation and preservation of attainable, affordable housing, the retention of top-talent in Michigan, and local economic development. 

What is Employer-Assisted Housing

Employer-Assisted housing is any housing solution, either rental or homeownership, that an employer provides financial or development assistance. Attainable housing near a place of employment has many benefits for employees and the communities they live and work in, including higher retention levels and increased contribution to local economies.

 

 Types of Employer Assisted-Housing

Down Payment Assistance

Down payment assistance is one of the most common types of employer-assisted housing solutions available. An employer can offer a loan or grant to cover the down payment for a single-family home, down payments are the most common barrier to homeownership.

Employer down payment assistance programs:

  • Rocket Mortgage Homebuyer Grant for Employees: The Rocket Home Grant provides up to $10,000 for down payment assistance to eligible team members working at one of their U.S.-based companies.
  • This can be coupled with MSHDA’s MI 10K DPA, a $10,00 loan offered to qualified homebuyers statewide for down payments, closing costs, and other homebuyer expenses.

Land Donation or Ground Lease

An employer may have land to donate to develop into affordable housing.

  • University of Michigan Health - Sparrow: University of Michigan Health has donated nine homes adjacent to its Sparrow Hospital campus on Lansing's Eastside to the Ingham County Land Bank and Habitat for Humanity Capital Region. The Land Bank and Habitat for Humanity plan to extensively renovate all of the homes, including converting several duplexes back to single family homes, in preparation to sell them to aspiring homeowners.
    • Contact: Alan Fox, Ingham County Treasurer & Land Bank Chair (AFox@ingham.org)

Real Estate Development

Employers are exploring a variety of housing solutions to support and retain their workforce, including real estate development.

Real estate development projects:

  • Shorts Brewery: Shorts Brewery purchased the Bellaire Inn to address northern Michigan’s seasonal and workforce housing shortage.
  • Whirlpool: Whirlpool invested $27 million in the 90,000 sq. ft Emma Jean Hull Flats apartments. An 80-unit waterfront development in downtown Benton Harbor, Michigan, added100 permanent residents who are actively connected to the local community and will add $100K/ year to the city's income tax fund and 3.5 million in discretionary spending to the local community. WHR's global headquarters is located in Benton Harbor.

Direct Housing Subsidy for Employees

An employer or organization can also help employees directly, in the form of a stipend, which can cover or offset the cost of housing. This can be used as an incentive for specific working locations, or wage ranges.

  • Live Midtown: Midtown Detroit, Inc. subsidized rents and mortgages for employees of three major institutions in hopes of attracting new residents, building a better neighborhood, and bolstering the local economy. * This project is now closed.

Housing Equity Funds

Employers invest money into an equity fund that uses the capital to make investments in housing developments. These housing investments are generally selected to meet certain criteria and objectives set by the investor.

Companies supporting housing equity fund projects:

  • Cinnaire’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Investments in Michigan: The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is a proven, successful program that was established in 1986 and enjoys broad bipartisan support. It was created to create market incentives to develop and preserve affordable housing. Investors use the Housing Credit to reduce their federal tax liability while also bringing much-needed capital to affordable housing production and preservation. In its 30-year history, Michigan-based Cinnaire has raised $2.2 billion to support the creation or preservation of 5,870 affordable homes in Michigan. Most recently, Cinnaire closed a $175 million fund.
  • Mercantile Community Partners: A subsidiary organization of Mercantile Bank that provides financial solutions to support community development and the growing need for affordable housing.

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