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December 19, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Announces Partnership with Gallaudet University and American University in Live Near Your Work Initiative  

Two Major District Employers Join D.C. Office of Planning in Sustainability Effort

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(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today the kickoff of the District’s Live Near Your Work (LNYW) pilot program with the award of grants to Gallaudet University and American University to encourage their employees to purchase homes near their jobs.
“I am very excited to announce this partnership with these great Washington institutions,” Mayor Gray said. “As institutions of higher education and employers of thousands of workers, they add so much to the District. With Live Near Your Work, we can support their employees’ dreams to purchase homes while encouraging them to plant long-term roots in the District.”


LNYW is a matching homeownership grant program created by the DC Office of Planning (OP) that will match contributions by major DC employers of up to $6,000 per participating employee toward down-payment and closing costs when an employee purchases a home in the District near their job or close to public-transit stations. The District has committed $200,000 to support the LNYW pilot initiative. Gallaudet and American will each receive $60,000 in grant funds. This is the first time the District has formed partnerships with major employers to create an Employer Assisted Housing program that encourages employees to live close to their job.


In addition to supporting the benefits of homeownership, LNYW could potentially reduce participating employees’ annual transportation costs by significantly reducing their commutes.
“The Live Near Your Work program is a great incentive to encourage Gallaudet University employees to become a part of the community,” Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz said. “This initiative will help the environment, support area businesses, contribute to the D.C. tax base, reduce congestion and save our employees time and money. We hope Gallaudet employees will take advantage of this opportunity to become an integral part of the neighborhoods around the university.”


"American University heartily endorses this important initiative, which shows our deep dedication to the District while advancing a number of AU’s strategic objectives,” said AU President Dr. Neil Kerwin.


The LNYW pilot will examine ways the employees benefit from living closer to their jobs, such as reduced commute times and increased transit use. The project will also document the program’s potential benefits to the District and the region, such as reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.


“By living closer to their jobs, an average employee could save over $2,800 each year from reducing the number of miles they drive while commuting alone,” said OP Director Harriet Tregoning. “The savings could easily triple or more if the neighborhood they purchase in makes it possible to live there without owning a car – which is certainly the case in many DC neighborhoods.”


Gallaudet and American University will launch their LNYW-supported employee-assistance programs in early spring 2012 with the first homebuyer-education classes. It is open to university employees who already live in the District as well as those moving into the District.