UR part- and full-time faculty and staff are eligible for $9,000 to purchase a new home in the city of Rochester through the University Home Ownership Incentive Program. The University teamed up with the city of Rochester, Advantage Federal Credit Union and Canandaigua National Bank & Trust to offer financial incentives for employees to live in the neighborhoods closest to the River Campus.

UR President Joel Seligman described the University’s role in this endeavor.

“We’re offering $3,000 with a comparable amount from the city of Rochester… to encourage employees to seriously consider owning a home in the city that is close to our University,” Seligman said. “Let me particularly express my gratitude to [Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO] Ron Paprocki, our chief financial officer, for his leadership in this initiative and for his commitment to supporting our neighbors.”

The hope is to attract buyers to the 19th Ward and Plymouth Exchange on the west side and Highland Park and the South Wedge on the east side.

“This program is another part of our efforts to contribute to the strength and vibrancy of the neighborhoods that we are a part of,” Paprocki said. “In partnering with the city government and local banks, we were able to leverage multiple resources to help our employees buy their own homes.”

This program highlights the collaboration between the city of Rochester and the University. The program was timed to coincide with City Living Sundays, which are days that homes across neighborhoods in Rochester are open for inspection. According to the Rochester City Living Web site, “City living provides you with world-class services, unparalleled convenience and great values on beautiful homes.”

“The University of Rochester is our largest employer and a steady supporter of what this city has to offer,” Mayor Robert Duffy said. “We are proud to match the University’s investment and want to thank them for their ongoing support. We also want to thank Advantage Federal Credit Union and Canandaigua National Bank & Trust for offering an additional incentive to help people save for a down payment and closing costs.”

Duffy continued to commend the program that outreaches to city residents.

“This is an outstanding initiative and a great complement to our City Living Sundays program that will help Rochester families achieve the dream of home ownership,” he said.

Additional incentive for first-time homebuyers offered by the program is home ownership education and counseling by NeighborWorks Rochester. This organization provides advice and assistance regarding purchasing, mortgaging, budgeting and insuring a home. Although its information sessions cost money to attend, these payments are not due until the end of closing.

There is no minimum income to receive these benefits, but the plan does require five-year occupancy and employment commitments.

Although there is no direct effect on student housing, the increased home ownership in the city hopes to revitalize areas surrounding the campus, which could make off-campus housing more appealing.

“In the long run, more individual home ownership strengthens neighborhoods, and this will make them more attractive places to rent in also,” Paprocki said.

The University’s effort to contribute to the surrounding city coincides well with aims to be more eco-conscious.

“Encouraging faculty and staff to live within walking distance also fits in nicely with our sustainability objective of reducing automobile use,” Paprocki said.

Other housing benefits available to University employees include mortgage incentives that have been available since 2003. Various banks, such as JPMorgan and HSBC, already have special housing incentives for homebuyers in the city of Rochester.

Sanehira is a member ofthe class of 2011.

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