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NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: Companies building houses to attract workers


To help address the ongoing labor shortage, some companies are building homes to lure applicants in areas where housing may be scarce or housing costs are too high. In this article from the Wall Street Journal we read that employers are emphasizing access to housing as they attempt to attract and retain workers. Last month, Walt Disney Co. said it would set aside 80 acres near Walt Disney World in Florida for a 1,300-unit affordable housing project that could be used by workers at the theme park. Cook Group, a manufacturer of medical devices, said it will help build 300 single-family homes in southern Indiana to address a shortage in housing for its workers, and JBS USA Holdings Inc., which runs meat processing plants, has designed a program to help create affordable housing in communities where it operates. It’s the latest move as companies continue to be squeezed by record high job openings. Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, said companies that build homes for employees are solving a labor market issue, not a housing market problem. John Breman, managing director at human resources consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, said none of the companies would be building houses “unless they absolutely had to. Nobody in these industries wakes up one day and says, ‘Let’s get into the housing business.’”

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