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This Startup Wants To Make Workforce Housing An Employee Benefit

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This Startup Wants To Make Workforce Housing An Employee Benefit
WorkforceHousing adviser Eric Lefteroff, co-founder Brian Bohan, intern Sushma Ponnuru and CEO and co-founder Mark Stoner

A San Francisco startup is offering a program to provide employers with a means to offer employee housing as a benefit. WorkforceHousing.com is a recently launched private company that can set up and manage employer-assisted housing programs for companies and nonprofit employers.

The company is targeting hospital employers and physician groups, universities and high-tech companies, according to WorkforceHousing.com CEO and co-founder Mark Stoner. Companies with 100 or more employees are the prime target.

The startup also is looking to partner with developers to be the marketing agency and market upcoming units to companies that can rent a set of units to be used for employee housing. The program also can set up down-payment assistance to help employees buy a home.

“The objective for the employer is to recruit and retain top talent,” Stoner said.

This type of incentive is not new. WorkforceHousing.com used programs at Yale, USC and the University of Chicago as models. These programs offer eligible employees funds to purchase a home. 

WorkforceHousing.com will assess market conditions, availability of units, housing costs and planned housing. It will take into consideration a client’s three- to five-year hiring plans and what an employee is able to purchase. Employees would receive down-payment assistance as well as online and on-site training for first-time homebuying and credit repair. The program would cost employers about $3 to $5 per employee per month and is free to employees.

The startup also will work with multifamily developers to secure employer-assisted rentals. The company has had initial discussions with a developer with 500 units in entitlements about being the marketing agency for those units. It could call on a corporation early in the development process to reserve future units for its employees.

“When you've got an employer going to planning commissions during pre-entitlements, they can drive the community conversation,” Stoner said.

The Bay Area will be the company’s initial focus with later phases focusing on resort areas. The company also is considering ways to partner with developers in Moffett Field to provide housing for NASA employees.