In an attempt to ease traffic and "reward" middle-income workers, the state of Illinois has planned to match the money companies give employees to help them buy homes near work, according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times.
A total of $268,000--enough to help about 100 people--will be awarded under the program starting this summer. State lawmakers, however, are considering sweetening the pot with more cash.
Governor George Ryan's proposed 2002 budget includes $1 million for a live-near-work fund, and a separate House bill seeks an undetermined amount of cash to do the same.
Illinois is among the few to bankroll employer-assisted housing. Nationwide, only 6% of employers offer mortgage help and 3% give down-payment cash, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
The $268,000 program approved in Illinois last month will match companies' home-buying initiatives dollar-for-dollar. To be eligible, employees' family incomes must be no greater than 80% of the Chicago area median, which is $52,500 a year for a family of four.