On February 1, the Bend Chamber and Kôr Community Land Trust announced the opening of the employer application process for the employer-supported Poplar Community on Bend’s west side. Employers can apply to become employer partners of the project, which enables their employees to have preference in the upcoming general public lottery for selecting homebuyers in the Poplar Community.

To be eligible, Kôr requires employers to have an office located in Bend, are willing to cover $2,500 in closing costs for the employee, have employee demographics that are equal to or more diverse than 91.3% non-Hispanic, white and 8.7% non-white, and have employees who have been employed full time with the company for at least a year.

“By partnering with employers, Kôr is able to build affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute the local economy,” said Jackie Keogh, Kôr Community Land Trust Executive Director. “Together, we can ensure those who are essential to the success of the city of Bend can afford to live here as long-term residents.”

The project includes seven 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes designed to net-zero energy standards for households earning equal or less than 80% of Area Median Income. These homes, designed by Ten Over Studio and constructed by Hiatus Homes, are estimated to be completed by winter 2024. The homes are located on Kôr land that retains a deed restriction requiring the owner to be employed in Bend, extending this benefit to the Bend workforce in perpetuity.

The Bend Chamber is sponsoring four of seven new homes in Kôr Community Land Trust’s new Poplar development, thanks to financial support from Providence Health Plan and specific Bend Chamber members. The sponsorship helps support the difference between the cost to build these homes and what income-qualified home buyers can afford.

“We are excited to demonstrate an option for employers who are losing talent due to lack of attainable housing,” said Katy Brooks, Bend Chamber CEO. “Home ownership provides stability and longevity to the workforce we need to support Bend businesses.”

According to a recent employer survey contracted by the Chamber, 81% of local employers cited the cost of housing has a high impact on their ability to fill job vacancies and more than two-thirds of those employers are seeing their revenue decline as a result. Additionally, 43% of regional employers have considered direct housing interventions to ease the cost of housing for their employees.

Interested employers should visit the Kôr Community Land Trust web site at https://korlandtrust.org/homebuyers/workforce-housing-program.

Employers can directly access the application here. The application process will remain open until 5:00 PM PST on March 3, 2023. Selected employers will be notified on March 10, 2023, by 5:00 PM PST.