One of the items the Greensboro City Council is discussing at the “strategy session” on Thursday, Oct. 13 is a city employee mortgage and rent assistance program.

Making Ownership Viable for Employees (MOVE), which is being proposed by the 2022 Leadership Edge Cohort, is to provide up to $15,000 of down payment assistance and up to $7,500 in rental assistance to eligible city employees.

Eligibility would be based on income and Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the figure being considered was 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

For Housing Connect GSO, the first-time homebuyer assistance program for residents of Greensboro, the income eligibility requirement is based on 80 percent of AMI that, for a four-person household, is estimated to be about $58,000 per year.

The rental assistance would pay the security deposit and up to 25 percent of the monthly rent not to exceed $7,500 in total.  Employees who utilize the rental assistance program would remain eligible for the down payment assistance program but the total assistance for the two programs from the city would not exceed $15,000.

The report on the GSO MOVE program notes, “Few cities within NC Offer similar incentives.”

To qualify for the MOVE program, the city employee must reside within the city limits. The benefits of the program according to the report include that it would encourage city employees to live in the city and “invest back into the community they serve as an employee of the City.”

The program would also help the city with recruiting and retaining employees “by providing options for relocation to Greensboro and home ownership within the City.”

The report also states, “An Employee’s Home ownership can be a major contributor to a sense of financial well-being, stability and security, all of which can add to their productivity and overall satisfaction working for the City.”

The challenges for the program listed in the report include the current low inventory of houses and apartments available, the additional expense in the city budget and the turnaround time for program applications and the city’s verification process.