SOURCE: National Association of Realtors

National Association of Realtors

June 14, 2010 10:50 ET

NAR, NHC Join Forces to Bring Workers Home

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - June 14, 2010) -  To help create more affordable housing opportunities for public and private sector workers in the Southeast, the National Association of Realtors® has partnered with the National Housing Conference to host a regional forum in Atlanta today to address the issue of workforce housing.

During the daylong Bring Workers Home forum, Realtors® will join local and state housing leaders 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 place of work.

"Realtors® build communities and care about the lack of affordable housing opportunities for low- to moderate-income working families in many of our cities and towns," said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. "Today's Bring Workers Home forum will help bring greater awareness to the important issue of affordable workforce housing and will help stimulate additional local efforts so that more people throughout the Southeast can afford to live in the same community where they work."

Having a full-time job does not always guarantee a family a decent, affordable place to live. According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, in 2007 nearly 35 million Americans had moderate to severe housing cost burdens, paying 30-50 percent or more of their incomes on housing. Workers like emergency personnel, teachers, retail clerks, hospitality staff and office employees who live in high-cost areas and whose salaries have not kept pace with local home prices often cannot afford to live in the communities where they work.

The lack of affordable housing choices in proximity to where residents work can lead to longer commutes, sprawl, and traffic congestion that 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 that creating more affordable housing options is essential.

More than 100 attendees are expected at today's Bring Workers Home forum 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.

At a morning panel discussion, experts will discuss the region's growing "cost of place" -- the combined costs of housing and transportation -- and how workforce housing strategies can help communities address the issue.

Forum keynote speaker Darlene Porter, senior manager at Aflac, will share 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 will share case studies of successful workforce housing programs in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina and discuss strategies to advance workforce housing through community partnerships.

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 part of a series of four regional forums hosted by NAR and NHC to address workforce housing. The forums will take place throughout 2010 in Atlanta, Honolulu, Minneapolis, and Austin, Texas.

The following regional and national partners helped NAR and NHC plan the forum: Atlanta Board of Realtors®; Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership Inc.; Atlanta Regional Commission; Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; International Economic Development Council; Livable Communities Coalition; and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

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 www.nhc.org.

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 www.realtor.org. 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
    202/383-1013
    Email Contact