Employers can help their employees who are first-time homebuyers achieve homeownership.
Home ownership is out of financial reach for the majority of Bend’s working population. On Wednesday, January 11, the Bend Chamber and Kôr Community Land Trust announced a pilot project that will demonstrate a way that employers can assist their employees in owning their first home.
The Bend Chamber is sponsoring four of seven new homes in Kôr Community Land Trust’s Poplar Community, thanks to financial support from Providence Health Plan and Bend Chamber members. The sponsorship helps support the difference between the cost to build these homes and what income-qualified home buyers can afford.
According to a recent employer survey contracted by the Chamber, 81% of local employers cited the cost of housing has a high impact on their ability to fill job vacancies and more than two-thirds of those employers are seeing their revenue decline as a result. Additionally, 43% of regional employers have considered direct housing interventions to ease the cost of housing for their employees.
Through this pilot, local businesses can help their employees who are aspiring, first-time homebuyers to purchase their first home.
“We are so thrilled to be able to bring this pathway to home ownership for employees through our partnership with Kôr,” said Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber. “Obviously this is only one option for employers, but there are a variety of partnerships and creative ways for businesses to also secure new rental housing.” “We want to hear from employers who are considering direct housing interventions to help them make connections.” she added.
Kôr’s new residential development called The Poplar Community brings much needed affordable homeownership to the City of Bend’s westside. The project includes seven 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes designed to net-zero energy standards for households earning equal or less than 80% of Area Median Income. These homes, designed by Ten Over Studio and constructed by Hiatus Homes, are estimated to be completed by winter 2024. The homes are located on Kôr land that retains a deed restriction requiring the owner to be employed in Bend, extending this benefit to the Bend workforce in perpetuity.
“Kôr’s homebuyers are working families who can qualify for a mortgage but cannot afford to purchase a home on the rising market when their own wages remain stagnant. By partnering with the Bend Chamber and local businesses, we’re demonstrating the impact affordable housing can have on those who contribute to the Bend economy and the greater community,” said Jackie Keogh, Kôr Community Land Trust Executive Director.
First, Kôr will approve employers who have applied and meet requirements. To be eligible, Kôr requires employers to have an office located in Bend, are willing to cover $2,500 in closing costs for the employee, have employee demographics that are equal to or more diverse than 91.3% non-Hispanic, white and 8.7% non-white, and have employees who have been employed full time with the company for at least a year. The employer application process will open on February 1, 2023. Kôr will then give preference to employees of partnering employers during its general public housing lottery for selecting homebuyers in its Poplar Community.
Interested employers and employees are encouraged to learn more about the employer-supported workforce housing pilot program by going to the Kôr Community Website at https://korlandtrust.org/homebuyers/workforce-housing-program.
Kôr Community Land Trust’s Mission
Provide environmentally sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute to the fabric of the Central Oregon economy and community.
Bend Chamber’s Mission
Create an environment where businesses, their employees and our community excel together through collaboration, advocacy, resources and leadership to meet Bend’s business challenges.