Live Near Your Work, Washington University in St. Louis’ employee housing assistance program, is increasing its annual budget, the number of neighborhoods where employees may buy a home and, in some cases, the size of forgivable loans.
New neighborhoods include:
- Visitation Park
- Fountain Park
- Lewis Place
Those communities join the program’s existing neighborhoods: DeBaliviere Place, Forest Park Southeast, Northeast University City, Skinker-DeBaliviere, West End, Parkview Gardens and a portion of the Central West End.
“By expanding the boundary north of Delmar, we are providing more housing options for faculty and staff at all levels and assisting in stabilizing neighborhoods,” said Ashley Johnson, Live Near Your Work program director. “These neighborhoods boast a lot of beautiful homes, and they are all within the St. Louis HUD Promise Zone.”
Formerly known as the Employer Assisted Housing Program, Live Near Your Work now provides a flat forgivable loan of $8,500 for closing costs and a down payment. Previously, employees were eligible for the lesser of $8,500 or 5 percent of the home’s purchase price.
Employees who purchase a home in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood are eligible for a $12,500 forgivable loan.
Washington University has been an important partner in the revitalization of Forest Park Southeast. In the past 20 years, Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. (WUMCRC), a public-private partnership between the School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare, has invested $35 million in the neighborhood, sponsoring the construction of more than 150 mixed-income housing units, supporting neighborhood investments in safety and security, jobs, education and the development of the entertainment, restaurant and commercial district along Manchester Avenue, also known as the Grove.
Employees are invited to learn more about neighborhood housing options and financing at Live Near Your Work Housing Summits in May on both the Danforth and Medical campuses.
Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration, said the Live Near Your Work program is a success. In the past 10 years, the university has awarded $590,000 in forgivable loans for 91 properties. That support has helped fuel almost $18 million in residential investment by Washington University employees. This year, the university will double the program’s overall budget to $200,000.
“Live Near Your Work is just one strategy to help stabilize residential neighborhoods near our campuses and encourage employees to live closer to work and use alternative transportation,” Webber said. “Our employees value this important benefit, and our community is stronger for it.”