November 19, 2009 15:47 ET

Employer-Assisted Housing Forum Helps Bring Homeownership Within Reach

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - November 19, 2009) - While reduced home prices and lower mortgage rates have helped increase affordability, homeownership is still out of reach for a large portion of working individuals. To help make homeownership more affordable for working families, the National Association of Realtors® partnered with the National Housing Conference to host a regional forum in Philadelphia today to raise awareness of employer-assisted housing benefits.

At the one-day Bring Workers Home forum, Realtors® joined local and state housing leaders to discuss employer-assisted housing strategies and help more families find affordable, decent housing near their workplaces.

"Realtors® build communities and care about hard working individuals who often cannot afford to live near their places of work," said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. "Besides helping workers gain greater access to affordable, decent housing, employer-assisted housing also helps address local affordable housing needs and challenges and provides benefits to employers and the local community."

According to a recent NAR survey, 47 percent of Americans say paying their rent or mortgage is a financial strain. That is especially true for many low- to moderate-income workers such as emergency personnel, teachers, retail clerks, hospitality staff and office employees, who live in high-cost areas.

Employer-assisted housing benefits -- in the form of forgivable loans, grants, matched savings plans, financial counseling or home buyer education -- have proven to be effective at helping individuals become homeowners.

The Bring Workers Home forum was developed to expand awareness of employer-assisted housing benefits among state and local leaders and share successful programs in New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Attendees included Realtor® associations and their Realtor® members, business leaders, housing and community development professionals, city council members and other elected and appointed officials, as well as human resource and employee benefit professionals.

Forum keynote speaker Stephen Wing, director of workforce initiatives at CVS Caremark, told attendees about the benefits of employer-assisted housing and shared the success of the company's housing benefit program. Called Prescriptions for Homeownership, CVS provides qualified employees with homeownership education and grants toward home purchases.

Other forum speakers included Ed Collins, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Kevin Dow, city of Philadelphia; Peter Elkowitz, Long Island Housing Partnership; Jim Flaherty, city of Philadelphia; Cynthia Karnai, Delaware State Housing Authority; Dr. Lucy Kerman, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition; Ed Robinson, the Maryland Real Estate Team; and Robin Snyderman, Metropolitan Planning Council.

Yesterday, dozens of Realtors® from the area kicked off the forum by participating in NAR's Home from Work continuing education class. The three-hour class helps real estate professionals better understand employer-assisted housing benefits and teaches them to work with local businesses and organizations to implement housing benefits for their employees.

For more than 75 years, the nonprofit National Housing Conference has been the nation's premier public policy and housing advocacy organization. To learn more about the National Housing Conference and its nonprofit research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, please go to

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at News releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center.

REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. All REALTORS® are members of NAR.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:
    Sara Weis
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