GURNEE – Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn launched a statewide campaign to promote Employer Assisted Housing (EAH), an employer-provided program to help employees reach homeownership status closer to work. Quinn partnered with the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County and Fannie Mae Corporation to kickoff this campaign in the Lake County area.
“Employer Assisted Housing is a flexible program designed for employers to help employees find and finance housing closer to work,” Quinn said. “The benefits of living near work reduce employee turnover, hiring and training costs while increasing employee morale and loyalty; and strengthen communities surrounding employment centers by reducing traffic congestion and increasing family time.”
Programs can be structured to offer forgivable loans, grants for down payment assistance, deferred or repaid loans, matched-saving plans, interest-rate buy downs, a paid day off for closings, homebuyer education sessions and credit counseling. EAH can also be segmented toward non-management staff or first-time homebuyers.
“Each employer-assisted housing program can be personalized to fit the needs of the employee and still meet the company’s corporate strategies”, Quinn said noting that the program is a great tool for employee recruitment and retention.
Employers participating in affordable housing programs are eligible to receive the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). This credit provides a $.50 tax credit on corporate income tax liability for every $1 in cash, land or property donated to the creation of affordable housing or invested in EAH.
“Several small and large employers are beginning to realize the impact employer-assisted housing programs have on everyday, hard working people, and I am encouraging all types of businesses to get involved,” Quinn said. “The lack of housing affordability does not just affect an individual; it affects everyone.”
Illinois is one of the few states that encourage EAH programs, and several employers across Illinois are already taking advantage of its benefits. Companies include Advocate Bethany Hospital, Allstate, Bank of America, Blessings Hospital, the City of North Chicago, the City of Rock Island, the City of St. Charles, Northwest Community Hospital, Rock Island-Milan School District, Rosenthal Brothers Insurance, and the University of Chicago.
Quinn was joined by representatives from the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County, Fannie Mae Corporation, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Planning Council, Allstate Insurance Company, Hewitt Associates, and Manpower, Inc.
In September 2003, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed an Executive Order to establish a comprehensive housing initiative to facilitate the creation of affordable housing. Quinn was appointed to the housing task force to help oversee the development of housing initiatives.