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Miami launches new housing program

Miami is launching a new "employer-assisted housing" program that aims to increase the level of faculty/staff home ownership in the city of Oxford, especially in the historic Mile Square.

Although the intent is to improve the university’s ability to recruit and retain faculty and staff, it is also hoped that the program will assist community-wide efforts to improve the Mile Square.

The program, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2003, includes three parts:

• Faculty and staff who buy a single-family home in Oxford’s Mile Square are eligible to apply for a "forgivable loan" of up to $10,000 to assist with purchase and renovation.

The loan — in the form of a second mortgage — would be forgiven at a rate of 14.25 percent per year for the first six years and 14.5 percent for the seventh year with the entire amount forgiven after seven years of owner occupancy.

• Faculty and staff who buy a single-family home in the city of Oxford outside of the Mile Square will be eligible for a "forgivable loan" of up to $4,000. The same seven-year ownership/occupancy requirement would apply for the loan to be forgiven.

• Faculty and staff who buy a single-family home in Butler County would be eligible for services from the Neighborhood Housing Service of Hamilton (NHS). Employees purchasing homes outside of Butler County may receive a referral from NHS to an appropriate agency.

This nonprofit agency provides loan facilitation, renovation assistance and other services to benefit-eligible Miami employees. The services are particularly aimed at first-time homebuyers and those employees who otherwise might be unable to qualify for a mortgage.

Some additional information on eligibility and procedures:

• All full-time, benefit-eligible employees are eligible to participate in the housing assistance program with loans distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

• Owner occupied properties (including single-family homes, condominiums or mobile homes) serving as a principal residence are eligible for the forgivable loans.

• Other regulations include only one loan per household (two or more employees cannot purchase a property together in order to double the down payment assistance). Loans cannot be applied retroactively. Applications must be applied for and approved prior to closing on the first mortgage.

• Loans cannot be used for lateral moves (for example — an individual moving from one house within Oxford to another). However, an individual could apply for a loan to move from a house within Oxford to one within the historic Mile Square.

• If a home-owner decides to sell a home purchased through the program in the historic Mile Square or ceases to use it as an owner-occupied single family residence, the employee must first offer the property to Miami for purchase at an appraised value.

• The area known as the "Mile Square" for the purposes of this program is the area bounded by Patterson Avenue, Sycamore Avenue, Locust Street and Chestnut Street. Specific boundary information will be available from NHS.

Similar employee assisted housing programs have been adopted by Ohio State and other universities, said Richard Norman, vice president for finance and business services.

Miami is allocating $100,000 per fiscal year to its program, he said, explaining that the financial commitment recognizes the value of faculty and staff living within the university community they serve.

"As faculty hired in the 1960s and ’70s approach retirement, Miami is facing a 50-60 percent turnover in the coming decade. The option of living close to campus will be important to attracting outstanding candidates," he said.

• Currently, about 44 percent of faculty, 38 percent of unclassified staff, and 30 percent of classified staff live in Oxford or Oxford Township.

• For fall 2002, 6,724 students gave off-campus Oxford addresses as their local address.

• In addition to campus and the Uptown business district, the Mile Square contains about 2,500 structures. According to the City of Oxford, 1,999 rental permits have been issued in the Mile Square for a total of 8,251 occupants. Of those, 362 are designed "single family" houses with permitted occupancy of four renters (about 1,448 total).

Employees wanting details about Miami’s program should call NHS at 513-737-9301.

Date Published: 11/07/2002
Volume: 22   Number: 15

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