Rural Partners Boost Homeownership

A partnership that helps employees become homeowners, helps businesses retain a quality workforce, and helps stimulate the local economy may sound too good to be true, but it's not!

A recent collaboration between HUD, Fannie Mae, USDA Rural Development, and Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc. (REI) has done just that with the Employer Assisted Housing Program. The program helps meet the housing needs of rural working families via down payment and closing cost assistance, and provides businesses with an incentive for retaining and attracting a good workforce.

The first employer to participate in this innovative program is WW-Manufacturing in Thomas, Oklahoma. The program will result in homeownership and economic development - two areas in need of resurgence in the farming community of Thomas.

The rural community was hit hard by the 80's oil bust, and local leaders have recognized that housing and additional industry are vital to the town. REI will match $1,500 of WW-Manufacturing's $1,500 forgivable loan, giving eligible employees up to $3,000 for down payment or closing costs.

The Employer Assisted Housing Program will change lives. In addition to increasing homeownership, they will also increase employee morale, productivity, and retention rates - all of which help a company's bottom line by stimulating the local economy. Communities will also enjoy an increased tax base and more active involvement from proud homeowners.

HUD, recognizing the need for additional rural Oklahoma communities to use the Employer Assisted Housing Program, has granted $400,000 to REI. "We were pleased to award this grant to REI to help more of our working families become homeowners", said Kevin McNeely, Oklahoma City Field Office Director.

These public and private collaborations also create stronger alliances with other organizations with similar goals and objectives, paving the way for public and private sectors to continue to align their resources and change more lives.

Content Archived: July 20, 2011