Written by Serena Cho of the Yale News, click here to read on Yale News website
The Yale Corporation last month renewed the Homebuyer Program, which provides financial assistance to Yale employees purchasing homes in New Haven, for another two-year cycle through Dec. 2019.
Established in 1994, the University Homebuyer Program gives employees working 20 hours or more per week substantial income benefits to buy a home in designated areas of the city. In its meeting last December, the Corporation recognized the program as one of the most long-lasting examples of Yale’s commitment to its home city.
“The Homebuyer Program is one of the many fantastic benefits Yale offers to its employees. In particular, this program demonstrates how the university is committed to being a good neighbor and partner to our hometown,” said Karen King, a community affairs associate in the Office of New Haven and State Affairs. “We consider this an important investment for both Yale and New Haven communities.”
The Corporation assesses the impact of the Homebuyer Program every two years. In the December meeting, trustees collectively agreed that the program continues to support employee welfare while also promoting strong New Haven neighborhoods, King said.
The program grants up to $30,000 to its participants: a $5,000 bonus on the first year and an annual contribution of $2,500 for the following 10 years, as long as the employee continues to work at Yale and live in the home.
The neighborhoods covered by the program — Beaver Hills, Dixwell, Dwight, East Rock, the Hill, Newhallville and West Rock — attracted many Yale homebuyers in the most recent two-year phase. As of last fall, 1,221 Yale employees had purchased homes in New Haven through the program, according to King. These purchases summed to a total market value of more than $237 million, and employees benefitted from a total commitment of more than $31 million from Yale.
Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the Homebuyer Program helps Yale employees not only by providing financial incentives but also by hosting information sessions for potential homebuyers that address the process of selecting, financing and maintaining a home.
King emphasized that these information sessions are particularly important because around 80 percent of the program’s participants are first-time homebuyers.
The program also represents one of the University’s key initiatives aimed at engaging with the city, according to Bruce Alexander ’65, vice president for New Haven and state affairs.
“Realtors say the Homebuyer Program is very important in helping to stabilize neighborhoods,” Alexander said. “Homeownership not only helps Yale employees build financial equity, but it also helps the neighborhoods build community because of the owner’s ongoing stake in its safety and stability.”
Conroy added that employees living in New Haven are more likely to befriend the city’s residents, strengthening the University’s relationship with its neighbors.
While 29 percent of all homebuyers who have benefitted from the program are faculty, 30 percent are clerical and technical staff, and 27 percent are management and professional staff. According to the Office of Institutional Research, around 32 percent of Yale employees are faculty, 28 percent are clerical and technical staff, and 32 percent are management and professional staff.
Conroy emphasized that the program benefits all Yale employees who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their employment sector.
“One of the great attributes of the program is that it has appealed to unionized staff, management staff, professional staff and faculty,” Conroy said. “Because the incentive is not tied to the cost of the home, the benefit is a larger share of the cost of less expensive homes.”
Yale employees must commit to own and reside in the home for at least two years to qualify for the Homebuyer Program.