SOURCE: National Association of Realtors

National Association of Realtors

October 12, 2010 16:38 ET

NAR, NHC Help Tackle West Coast's Workforce Housing Issues

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 12, 2010) -  The National Association of Realtors® and the National Housing Conference have partnered to host a regional forum in Honolulu today to address workforce housing. The goal is to help create more affordable housing opportunities for full-time public and private sector workers who cannot afford to live in the community where they work.

Realtors® joined local and state housing leaders at the Bring Workers Home forum to examine the region's workforce housing challenges, highlight regional best practices to address those challenges, and share and discuss strategies for how workforce housing programs can help more working families find affordable, decent housing near their places of work.

"Homeownership is an investment in your future -- and anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the ability to pursue that dream," said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. "The goal of the Bring Workers Home forum is to do just that, to identify effective workforce housing strategies and help more working families achieve attainable, sustainable homeownership."

For many full-time working individuals like emergency personnel, teachers, retail clerks, hospitality staff and office employees, finding a decent, affordable home in the communities where they work can be a challenge, especially in high-cost areas. According to a recent NAR survey, having a full-time job but still not making enough to afford a home or apartment close to work was considered an obstacle by more than three-fourths of respondents.

The lack of affordable housing choices close to where residents work can lead to longer commutes, urban sprawl and traffic congestion, which can degrade the quality of life for all residents. Increasingly, communities have come to recognize that affordable housing impacts the economic and social well-being of the entire community and is good for everyone. In fact, the same NAR survey found that nearly eight out of 10 respondents supported workforce housing and believe it's important for people who provide community services also be able to live in the community where they work.

The Bring Workers Home forum drew more than 85 attendees including 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.

The forum began with a morning panel discussion where experts discussed Hawaii's growing "cost of place" -- the combined costs of housing and transportation -- and how workforce housing strategies can help address those issues.

Forum keynote speaker Darlene Porter, senior manager at Aflac™, shared with attendees the success of her organization's employer-assisted housing benefits program, which provides down payment and closing cost assistance to its employees through a first-time home buyer grant program.

Two afternoon panels shared case studies of successful workforce housing programs in California, Hawaii and Washington, and discussed how community partnerships can help advance workforce housing.

Tomorrow, Realtors® will participate in NAR's Employer-Assisted Housing class. The four-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.

Today's Bring Workers Home forum is the last of a series of four regional forums hosted by NAR and NHC to address workforce housing. The forums took take place throughout 2010 in Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Austin, Texas.

The following regional and national partners helped NAR and NHC plan the forum: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Hawaii Association of Realtors®; Hawaii Housing Alliance; International Economic Development Council; Metropolitan Planning Council and Urban Land Institute Hawaii.

Since 1931, the nonprofit National Housing Conference has been dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all Americans. To learn more about the National Housing Conference and its 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 1.1 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 Wiskerchen
    Email Contact