Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920
September 30, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman
Employees Who Buy Houses in Baltimore City
Can Receive Grants of Up to $17,000
A program that helps Johns Hopkins Institutions employees buy homes in select Baltimore City neighborhoods near Hopkins campuses is expanding, making available grants up to nearly seven times larger than before.
The "Live Near Your Work" program, which formerly provided up to $2,500 to help with down payments and closing costs, now will offer up to $17,000 in financial aid to eligible homebuyers. Much of the additional support is due to a significant new grant from The Rouse Company Foundation.
The program is designed to help Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System employees become homeowners in Baltimore City, often close to the Johns Hopkins campuses at which they work. At a time of rising fuel prices, the chance to cut commuting costs and travel time are obvious benefits. In addition, the program will give employees an opportunity to build home equity, in many cases for the first time. These Johns Hopkins employee homeowners will be able to enjoy the economic and social rewards of urban living while strengthening their new neighborhoods and contributing to the vibrancy of the city, program administrators say.
The program benefits Johns Hopkins by helping the university and health system to recruit and retain employees. With a common interest in seeing increased homeownership and the associated community strengthening benefit, the partnership between Johns Hopkins, its employees and Baltimore City will be enhanced. The Live Near Your Work program also is in sync with the region's "smart growth" strategy, which encourages development where infrastructure already exists as a way to reduce sprawl, cut traffic congestion and promote environmental sustainability.
"We see Johns Hopkins' enhanced Live Near Your Work program as a winner for everyone. It benefits our employees and the institutions, as well as the communities surrounding our campuses and the city of Baltimore," said William Brody, president of The Johns Hopkins University. "With about 45,000 employees, Johns Hopkins is Maryland's largest private employer. We represent an enormous and highly diverse pool of potential Baltimore City homeowners, and we hope many of our employees will choose to take advantage of this enhanced benefit."
Details of the re-inaugurated housing assistance program will be unveiled to employees on Monday, Sept. 29, during a housing exposition for to be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Turner Concourse, located in the lower level of the Turner Building, 720 Rutland Ave., on the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore Campus. Between 1 and 2 p.m., the expanded Live Near Your Work benefit will be discussed by William R. Brody, president of the university; Ronald Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and Johns Hopkins Hospital; James McGill, senior vice president for finance and administration at Johns Hopkins University, and Anthony Deering, chairman of the Rouse Company Foundation. The housing exposition for Johns Hopkins employees will be hosted by the Johns Hopkins WORKlife Programs. It will feature a Live Near Your Work resource table, the Live Baltimore Home Center and exhibitors from community organizations.
"Johns Hopkins' newly enhanced Live Near Your work program is another example of our commitment to our employees and our host communities, as well as our recognition of their critical relationship to the success of Johns Hopkins," Peterson said.
Johns Hopkins originally launched Live Near Your Work in 1997 as a collaboration with Baltimore City and the state of Maryland. It provided financial help to benefits-eligible employees who chose to purchase homes in more than 12 neighborhoods surrounding the Homewood, East Baltimore, Peabody and Bayview campuses. Since that time, the program has enabled more than 300 Johns Hopkins employees to purchase homes in the targeted communities and has encouraged investment in these communities. Under the original guidelines, Johns Hopkins awarded each homebuyer up to $1,500, and Baltimore City contributed another $1,000. Through 2004, an additional $1,000 per grant was available from the state. The program has required that recipients own and occupy the home for a specified period and contribute at least $1,000 toward the purchase, depending on where the home was located.
In recent years, however, because of rising property values, these grants have covered a smaller portion of the costs associated with purchasing a home. To make this benefit more attractive and more helpful to employees, The Rouse Company Foundation has provided a grant of $2.5 million. In accepting the grant, the Johns Hopkins Institutions agreed to provide a matching sum. The revamped program has set a goal of providing grants to more than 300 Johns Hopkins employees who choose to purchase homes in designated Baltimore City communities during the next four years. The revised grant program took effect on Aug.1, 2008.
The program is open to most full-time, benefits-eligible employees of the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System. Eligible employees at campuses in other cities, such as the Montgomery County Campus in Rockville, Md., and the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., also can participate if they wish to live in the targeted Baltimore City neighborhoods. No retroactive grants will be awarded.
Under the revised guidelines, home purchases must be made within one of two Baltimore City program areas, one near the university's Homewood campus and the other surrounding the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Exact boundaries can be viewed on the map posted on this Web site: www.jhu.edu/lnyw/.
Within these two areas, grant amounts will vary according to the neighborhoods in which the homes are purchased. On the online map, the areas targeted for the largest grants are identified as "Tiers."
For example, home purchases in Tier A1, an area that includes portions of the Harwood, Barclay and Greenmount West neighborhoods, and Tier A2, the East Baltimore Development Inc. area just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital, are eligible for $17,000 grants.
In Tier B, which includes the Remington and Better Waverly communities, as well as a section of Abell, $10,000 grants will be awarded. Tier C, which includes Baltimore- Linwood, is designated for $6,000 grants.
Home purchases in the areas located within the Live Near Your Work footprint but outside of these specified tiers, will be eligible for grants of up to $2,500.
By allocating the largest grants in the targeted tier neighborhoods, the program administrators are trying to focus the home ownership incentives in a way that maximizes the positive impact on select neighborhoods, especially those that are viewed as key to the viability of north- central Baltimore City and East Baltimore and are located near several of Johns Hopkins' city campuses. By providing the greatest home-buying incentives in these priority areas, the program aims to bolster neighborhoods that already are doing well and to strengthen emerging neighborhoods as they become more vibrant, diverse and desirable places to live.
The original Live Near Your Work program was administered by three separate offices, each serving the Homewood/Peabody, East Baltimore and Bayview areas. In the updated program, these have been consolidated into a single centralized administration, based within the Johns Hopkins WORKlife Programs for employees. In addition to the Live Near Your Work grants for home purchases, participating Johns Hopkins employees also will be eligible for homeowner counseling services, funded by Baltimore City. Live Near Your Work is one of a number of programs that promote work/life effectiveness by reducing the personal barriers that affect employees' ability to be fully engaged at work.