Panel: Affordable Housing Needed for Workforce

July 29, 2011

With home costs outpacing wages in many areas, families are struggling to find affordable housing near where they work. The result has triggered long commutes, sprawl, increased traffic congestion, and not to mention, lower quality of life. 

Panelists and attendees on Thursday met at the Bring Workers Home forum in Boston to brainstorm solutions to workforce housing issues that particularly plague the Northeast region, as well as the nation. The forum is part of a series of three regional forums hosted by the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Housing Conference to address workforce housing. Other host cities for the forum will be Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore.

“The good news is that many cities are beginning to recognize the relationship between workforce housing and a community’s economic and social well-being,” says NAR President Ron Phipps. “More importantly, some businesses are also starting to understand the link between housing costs and their bottom line. Housing costs can create challenges for companies to attract and retain employees.”

In particular, teachers, firefighters, first responders, and police officers are struggling to find affordable housing near where they work. The forum brought together local and state housing and business leaders and government officials to address workforce housing challenges and highlight regional solutions.

“The Bring Workers Home forum is a tremendous opportunity for REALTORS®and local employers, organizations, and officials to work together to help solve the housing challenges that our workforce faces,” Phipps says. “There is a crisis in affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families across the country, and the forum will not only bring this issue to light, but will also encourage efforts to make housing more affordable to working class families.”

Conference attendees on Thursday also had the option to participate in NAR’s Employer-Assisted Housing class, a four-hour course that helps real estate professionals better understand employer-assisted housing benefits as well as learn strategies for working with local nonprofit and lender partners to help local employers implement housing benefits for employees. 

For more information about the Bring Workers Home forum, visit

By REALTOR® Magazine online


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