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A panel of REALTORS® provided keen insight into what it takes to launch successful workforce housing initiatives during the Housing Opportunities Forum – Ideas in Action at the REALTOR® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., last week.

“REALTORS® build communities, and they understand the needs of those who live and work in those communities,” says National Association of Realtors® President Moe Veissi. “Workforce housing solutions aren’t just about affordable housing, they’re also a valuable resource for employees of all income levels who are ready for the stability of homeownership.”

The panel included Joseph Canfora, Chairman of the Housing Opportunity Forum; Patti Lawton, Vice Chair; Samantha Dekoven, Metropolitan Planning Council of Illinois; and RealtorsR Raylene Brundage, Tammy Murphy, and Dawn Lane. Each brought a unique perspective on what it takes to get employers and the community onboard with Employer Assisted Housing programs.

Dawn Lane shared how trial and error helped her create an EAH system that can be tailored to a company’s needs. In March, she launched her program with Zappos.com. “We’ve got the system. We have proven results. But it all starts with building trust and cultivating relationships so companies know you’re there to help them and service their needs,” Lane said.

Tammy Murphy added, “Find out what the employers needs are and make your program very specific to them. Be their advocate by finding out how you can make your program work best for them and their employees. Do your research and network.”

One important resource for REALTORS® and REALTOR® associations that are working toward workforce housing solutions is the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. A collaborative group of diverse housing industry partners developed the Standards to provide a baseline for what constitutes quality homeownership education, counseling and services to strengthen long-term homeownership.

The Standards create a level of consistency in the industry and provide real estate professionals with a set of practices and guidelines.

Organizations and homeownership professionals can use them to help deliver reliable and credible education and counseling to their clients.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

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