A lot of us have been pushing for a long time for EMU to get more aggressive about incentivizing its faculty and staff to live in Ypsilanti. And, happily, it looks like there’s finally some positive movenent in that direction. The following clip comes by way of AnnArbor.com.
Eastern Michigan University plans to offer employees up to $10,000 to purchase homes in Ypsilanti.
The Live Ypsi program, which is currently being finalized and will likely be announced later this month, will use EMU, Washtenaw County government and DTE Foundation resources to offer forgivable loans to full-time faculty and staff who purchase a home in the Ypsilanti area.
Officials say loans will likely range from $5,000 to $10,000 per individual. For each year that the homeowner lives in the Ypsilanti area and maintains employment at EMU, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven. After five years, the loan will be completely forgiven.
The program has $60,000 secured for its pilot launch and a possible partnership with a state entity could mean more cash, said Anthony VanDerworp, director of Washtenaw County Economic Development.
“The program will begin small. It’s designed to be a pilot,” said EMU Director of Government Relations Leigh Greden, who began brainstorming about the program with Washtenaw County more than a year ago.
Live Ypsi, he says, is based of the Live Midtown program in Detroit, a larger but similar partnership between government and business entities to incentivize residential life…
For what it’s worth, I never suggested that EMU give people money outright to live in the city. For the most part, from what I recall, I suggested that they look into offering zero-percent interest loans for employees placing down-payments on homes in the City. (I believe I also suggested that they form partnerships with local real estate professionals, so that, when new hires were brought on-board, they could be given up-to-date information on Ypsilanti neighborhoods, and properties currently available. (As we’ve been told in the past, at no point during the hiring process, up until now, was it even suggested to new EMU employees that they should consider living in the City.) And, there’s also been talk, of course, about getting EMU more actively engaged in the turn around of Ypsi public schools, which, as we all know, is one of the main reasons that new EMU employees choose to live elsewhere… So, while I probably would have done it a little differently, I find it incredibly encouraging that EMU has chosen to undertake this initiative. It signals to me that, after years of pulling away from the City, they’re finally coming to the realization that they’ll never be truly successful as an institution until Ypsilanti is stable and thriving… Now let’s see how aggressively they push it, and how many of their employees take advantage of the program.
[note: Speaking of getting more people to live in the City, we've also discussed the possiblity of residency requirements for municipal employees. You'll find our most recent conversation on that subject here.]