Workers in California may have a better shot at affordable housing thanks to an employer-assisted housing program from the California Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae, California Assemblymember Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and local lenders.

TheCAR Employer Assisted Housing Program aims to increase affordable home ownership for California’s workforce through access to housing information and education, home-ownership assistance and low-cost financing options, CAR said Thursday.

Through the combined efforts of real estate professionals, lending and business partners, this initiative will utilize Employer Assisted Housing, or EAH, benefit plans to increase housing and economic development opportunities in California, according to CAR.

Understanding the home-buying process and getting enough money for the down payment and closing costs remain the primary hurdles for many families seeking a mortgage loan, CAR said. Hence, employers can help employees realize their dreams of home ownership by offering an EAH benefit plan, according to CAR.

Employers can choose from a variety of EAH benefit options, including access to home-buying workshops by participating real estate professionals, or a financial benefit, such as a loan or grant to help fund down payments, closing costs or interest-rate buy-downs, CAR said.

In turn, EAH will serve as a tool employers can use to attract and retain qualified employees, revitalize neighborhoods and reduce employee commutes, the association said.

“CAR created this initiative to empower our members to provide a new resource to meet the region’s critical need for affordable home ownership, and we appreciate Fannie Mae’s strong support in helping us achieve this goal,” said Jim Hamilton, the association’s president.

“By working with local chambers of commerce, participating lenders and local governments, we hope to make home ownership more accessible for working Californians,” Hamilton said.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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