To keep people living in the city, the mayor of Pittsburgh would like to see employers help workers buy homes in the downtown core.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has cited Chicago as a model. In that city, the Illinois Institute of Technology worked with the Chicago Housing Authority to offer staff members $10,000 towards a down payment on a home.
In Pittsburgh, the Urban Redevelopment Authority will help any employer interested in setting up a similar program, said Ravenstahl. The authority might also be able to access federal funds to help bolster the benefit.
Chicago's public school district also offers new teachers as much as $7,500 in loans - forgiven after five years if they're still with the district - to help with the costs of buying a home.
Of the 23,000 teachers in the city, 770 have used the program since 2005 and 94 per cent have stayed with the district.
Chicago's Loyola University lends up to $10,000 to about 25 staff members each year to buy homes close to campus or near the transit line that runs through it.
In Pittsburgh, a few employers have already started employee-housing programs. Allegheny General Hospital set up a program to give employees a $2,000 grant from the state to help them buy a home. West Penn Hospital does the same and gives employees $1,000 toward closing costs.
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