University Employer-Assisted Housing
The paper critically explores the potential for EAH programs to not only meet the needs of universities, but also contribute to the improvement of the communities that reside in “the shadows” of universities. The research seeks to uncover the ways in which EAH programs serve to catalyze relationships between universities and those communities. The authors identify the motivations for and common models of university employer assisted housing (EAH) programs, and use these motivations and models as a framework for a scan of twenty-two university EAH programs across the country. The framework is then applied to three more in-depth case studies of university EAH programs at: Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, and Howard University. Analysis of the case studies reveals that EAH can be an effective way for universities to address a housing shortage for its employees, or a particular segment of its staff. However, while most EAH programs are designed to respond to the university need to provide more accessible housing for its staff, the efficacy of EAH as a tool with which to both revitalize a community and improve university-community relationships is not quite as clear. Trust between universities and their neighboring communities is identified as a key factor in limiting or enhancing the community development outcomes of university EAH programs. Universities may be best advised to ensure that EAH is first and foremost a true exercise in partnership; where the first goal is to build relations of trust with the community, rather than just provide housing to their employees.