“If this helps us recruit someone and bring them in more rapidly and then keep them, it’s been money well spent.”
Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity
.…on the organization giving some staff members $13,500 to help them buy homes, via The Chronicle of Philanthropy/AP News.
After receiving a $9 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in March, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity looked to set some priorities. And one direction it looked was at the needs of its own employees.
Crawford—who served as CEO of Dallas Area Habitat from 2018 until his retirement last month, when he was succeeded by new CEO William Eubanks III—told the Chronicle that Scott’s gift allowed Dallas Habitat to think big and creatively.
Already developing a program for corporations that would give employees home buying counseling and down-payment assistance, the organization decided to do something similar for its own staff, by offering a $13,500 forgivable loan benefit to its employees to help with down payments or closing costs.
In July, Dallas Habitat began offering the benefit to employees making less than 120% of the Dallas area median income ($116,800 a year for a family of four, the Chronicle noted).
The benefit could be used for a home built by Dallas Habitat or one on the open market, with the loan forgiven if the employee remains at the organization for five years. 20% of the loan is forgiven for each year they stay on.
“There has been a ton of excitement about this program,” Blaine Cowart, the organization’s VP of homeowner services, told the Chronicle. “I’ve had countless employees come and visit me personally and share their interest in it.”
Clare Losey, an assistant research economist at Texas A&M’s Texas Real Estate Research Center, told the Chronicle the benefit means a lot in a time of rising interest rates and an uncertain economy.
“A program like this that Habitat is providing for its employees is a huge benefit,” she told the Chronicle. “Saving $13,000 on a household income of, say, $50,000 is going to take years and years.”
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