Employer-assisted housing can help keep Austin affordable

Posted on 11/25/2019 by Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

If you work a full-time job, you should be able to afford a decent place to live with your family.

But in booming cities like Austin with rising housing costs, it can be tough to find an affordable place to call home.

Austin isn’t the only one — more and more communities are looking for options that leverage economic development and public resources to increase the amount of affordable housing in key areas. Many are turning to partnerships that fall under the banner of employer-assisted housing.

By partnering on employer-assisted housing programs and projects, government and business leaders can make Austin more affordable and attractive for everyone.

These programs help companies recruit and retain employees, reducing turnover, improving productivity, and burnishing the brand — especially when employers support innovative programs that become models for other cities.

And they’re great for Austin as a whole, increasing affordability, supporting small-scale growth and economic development, revitalizing underused tracts of land, and investing employees in the community so they become more civically engaged.

Employer-assisted housing can help achieve other community goals as well.

By creating affordable housing choices close to where families work, such projects can shorten commutes, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance communities. They create a measurable return on investment, both for communities and the employers who find it easier to attract and retain employees — improving everyone’s quality of life.

Such projects are starting to pop up in Texas and across the country, to great effect:

  • In San Antonio, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and JP Morgan Chase partnered on a pilot project focused on workforce housing support for people in the growing medical records and apartment maintenance fields.
  • And Google, Facebook and Apple — national tech companies with a presence in Austin — have launched employer-assisted housing models in other cities.

Hopefully, Austin isn’t far behind.

Let us know what you think! Email Jeremy Martin, Senior Vice President of Strategy.

Related Categories: Public Policy