The Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative (DACDI), a group of 12 companies and three private foundations that have a stake downtown, announced today that it will offer its housing incentive program Live Near Your Work to Allentown police officers.
In June 2015, several DACDI member companies launched Live Near Your Work, an employer-assisted housing program administered by Neighborhood Housing Services of the Lehigh Valley. The program was designed to encourage downtown employees to buy a house within walking distance of their workplace.
Live Near Your Work offers several incentives, including a grant made through Neighborhood Housing Services of up to $10,000 for eligible full-time employees – and now Allentown police officers – who buy a house between Fifth and 12th streets and Walnut and Liberty streets. The grant is to help pay for the buyer’s down payment, closing costs and renovations and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The buyer must own and occupy the home for at least five consecutive years. DACDI companies participating in Live Near Your Work include Lehigh Valley Health Network, City Center Lehigh Valley, CrossAmerica Partners, PPL, National Penn Bank, Sacred Heart HealthCare System, Trifecta Technologies, Gross McGinley, LLP and Alvin H. Butz, Inc.
In addition, participating banks, including National Penn Bank, QNB and Wells Fargo, are offering mortgages with reduced closing costs and other benefits to Live Near Your Work participants. The Neighborhood Partnership Program is also offering façade-improvement grants of up to $10,000 to eligible downtown homeowners, meaning Live Near Your Work participants could receive up to $20,000 in grants.
One participating DACDI company, City Center Lehigh Valley, has extended its Live Near Your Work $10,000 grant to Allentown School District teachers and administrators serving center city schools and the faculty and administrators of Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest Colleges.
“Live Near Your Work is a way to enhance the quality and vitality of downtown neighborhoods, and DACDI is pleased to now offer the program to Allentown’s police officers,” said Don Bernhard, executive director of DACDI.
Since the Live Near Your Work program was launched in June, two employees have purchased homes, a third is expected to complete a purchase by the end of October and 19 others are registered with Neighborhood Housing Services and looking for a house.
“I tell people at every opportunity that Allentown is extremely fortunate to have great community partners,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “I could not be more pleased that the Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative (DACDI) is extending the Live Near Your Work incentives to Allentown police officers. Downtown Allentown is undergoing tremendous change, and this opportunity and the participation of the banks will open doors for more of our police officers to become a part of it.”
Neighborhood Housing Services has partnered with DACDI to administer the Live Near Your Work program, including helping employees of participating companies find eligible properties, select the best mortgage from a participating bank, apply for a residential façade-improvement grant and schedule their real estate closing. Interested employees can visit the Neighborhood Housing Services website, nhslv.org, or lnywallentown.com for more information.