Having an opportunity to live and work in the Tri-Valley area is one that many people desire and is one that business recruiters offer to potential new employees. However, the area's housing market can be intimidating and often makes it difficult for businesses to recruit and retain qualified employees.
The perception is that home ownership is impossible for many who are relocating here. But, at any given time, approximately 150 Tri-Valley homes are priced where, with a minimal down payment, many buyers would have monthly payments in the same range as the rent they are paying today.
Employers in North Pleasanton understood the perceived barrier to homeownership in the area that has made recruiting and retaining employees a challenge and voiced a need for programs to help them with their recruiting efforts. In response, the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce launched its Employee Home Ownership program in May.
"The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to offer this exciting new program to our member businesses as a benefit of membership," said David Bouchard, Chamber President and CEO. "Chamber representatives who are experts in real estate and mortgage financing options will begin the process of informing prospective first-time homebuyers by working directly with local employers. Initially, we are targeting companies with 20 or more employees," added Bouchard.
The program is free to employers and employees with information targeted for both groups. For example, employers can receive resource guides that provide insights into opportunities for employee home ownership as well as access to resources for employees. Training for recruiters will demonstrate how employees can overcome barriers associated with housing costs.
For employees, the Chamber holds evening workshops to educate them on the housing market, possibilities for home ownership and available resources. Businesses can also request on-site "brown bag" seminars for employees. In addition, Chamber representatives will provide tours of the area for visiting job candidates, focusing on life in the Tri-Valley and specifics about housing affordability.
"The program leaders who will work with employers and employees are made up of two teams, each team having a realtor and a mortgage lender who specialize in first-time homebuyer programs," explains Bouchard.
Some employees need more preparation than the Chamber provides before they can seriously consider home ownership. These employees are referred to the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center for in-depth education and confidential one-on-one counseling in areas such as financial fitness and credit repair. Graduates of the Center's program receive documentation that enables them to obtain mortgage pre-approval. This Center assisted more than 40 families in becoming homeowners during the past year.
Employers interested in taking advantage of the Chamber's program should contact Dawn Wilson at the Pleasanton Chamber office at (925) 846-5858, ext. 203 or email Dawn@pleasanton.org .
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