A new initiative to incentivize Chapel Hill town employees to live within the town was presented Wednesday to the Chapel Hill Town Council. After several months of research, the Office of Housing and Community offered their research and ideas for feedback.
Surveys and research groups were conducted among town employees who commute 30 minutes or more to work to gauge need and interest. The program plans to offer options to employees for both renting and buying in town limits, offering incentives like closing cost assistance, down payment assistance, matched home ownership savings and financial counseling.
According to the surveys, 50 percent of employees who do not live in Chapel Hill wish they did and 84 percent of those living outside of town said housing costs were the main barrier.
Town employees have expressed interested in this type of program in the past, said Sarah Viñas, assistant director of Housing and Community and the program's project manager. The committee, however, is still in the process of exploring options.
“We are recommending developing a pilot program for employee incentives that would include a menu of options because we recognize that not every employee has the same housing preferences,” Viñas said. “Some people want to rent, some want to own, so we think it makes sense to have a menu of options for people to choose from.”