The Washington DC Office of Planning recently announced an interesting new employer assisted housing program called “Live Near Your Work.” This pilot program aims to attract and retain DC residents while encouraging those residents to live within walking or biking distance from their employer or to use transit options for their commute in order to reduce not only household travel and energy costs, but to reduce the impact of long commutes on roads, congestion, and air quality.
Under the program, DC will match up to $6,000 in contributions made by employers to employees for the purchase a home within the city that is also within 2 miles of their employer or within 0.5 miles of a metro station or within 0.25 miles of a high-quality bus route. The prorgam is available to households of all income levels. Funds may be used for down-payment and closing cost assistance.
The program will initially target large businesses such as the federal government, major universities and health-hospital campuses, as a means to have a significant impact on commuting levels and to allow those employers to offer the program as a tradeoff for employee parking or other commuter benefits. The pilot program will include a cost-benefit study to measure and evaluate its impact to determine whether to expand the program.