Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, December 19, 2011

DC giving money to universities to give to their employees to live in the city


From the press advisory:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray will announce the kickoff of the District’s Live Near Your Work pilot program with the award of grants to Gallaudet University and American University to encourage their employees to purchase homes near their jobs in the District. ...

Live Near Your Work is the District’s matching homeownership grant program developed by the D.C. Office of Planning. Grants will be paired with contributions by major D.C. employers toward down-payment and closing costs for employees who purchase a home in the District near their job or close to mass-transit stations.

While the intent is good, it's backwards. FWIW, this kind of program should be required of universities in the city as part of the approval of university campus plans, without DC having to give these institutions money to do so.

Mercer University (Macon) and University of Pennsylvania, among other institutions, have extensive programs concerning revitalization of neighborhoods around their campuses, where they are making the investment in the surrounding communities, sometimes with some grant assistance, but not with municipal funds.

See "Penn offers assistance in buying West Philly homes" from Penn Current. From the article:

Penn’s Enhanced Forgivable Loan Program allows full-time employees to receive $7,500 that can be used for down payment, closing costs, home renovations, energy audit home retrofits or the purchase of eco-products. The Closing Cost Reduction Program offers nominal discounted closing costs to the University community for the purchase of a home in West Philadelphia.

More than 1,000 University and Health System employees have taken advantage of the programs since 1965, when Penn first began offering West Philadelphia home buying incentives.

Toyin Adegbite-Moore, director of Penn Home Ownership Services, says the incentive programs have benefited both Penn employees and the local community. “It keeps the University connected to the community where it’s based,” she says. “And for the community, there’s a connection to the University.”

From the "Home Buying Guide" on the Historic Macon website:

Mercer University Down Payment Assistance
Mercer University offers up to $20,000 for any of its full-time employees to purchase a house in College Hill. This program is very simple to use and has few restrictions.

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