This month, Landed announced our partnership with Berkeley City College, the first higher education institution in the East Bay to join Landed. The launch was covered by CBS News, Fox KTVU, and The Mercury News. In addition, we were honored to be featured in UC Berkeley's student-run newspaper, The Daily Californian. The following article is by Sasha Langholz, a student journalist and Public Health & Latin American Studies major at UC Berkeley.
Berkeley City College, or BCC, announced Tuesday a new partnership with Landed, a financial services startup, to assist educators and college employees in buying homes amid the housing crisis in the Bay Area.
Through this partnership with Landed, which aims to provide financial security for professionals, BCC will address one of their employees’ biggest struggles outside of work: making down payments on homes. Applications for the down payment program opened the day of the partnership announcement, according to a BCC press release.
“In an area that is getting more expensive everyday, it means everything that BCC could do something to contribute to our underpaid teachers,” said Max Frincke, BCC student body president.
According to Frincke, the program will contribute to solving the problem of high employee turnover rates at BCC due to the difficult housing situation in the Bay Area. Frincke said that although BCC pays their employees “more than most community colleges,” teachers suffer long commutes and “undesirable living situations” to live and work in the area.
The program is available to employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week and agree to stay with their employer for at least two years, according to the press release. The program will provide up to $120,000 in down payment support. Participants must also qualify for a mortgage through one of the program’s participating lenders.
The program doesn’t charge interest or monthly payments. Rather, in exchange for down payment assistance, the participant shares the investment gain or loss with Landed.
According to Landed’s website, the program currently operates exclusively in developed and urban areas, as well as regions near urban centers. The program is offered to select school districts, universities, and colleges across California, Colorado, Hawaiʻi, and Washington. [Since this story was published, Landed has also launched in Oregon.]
“BCC is excited to launch this program and partnership because of the affordability issues – housing insecurity, food insecurity – that continue to impact our students and employees,” said BCC President Rowena Tomaneng in an email.
According to Tomaneng, some school employees commute as far as Antioch and Sacramento where average rent is often cheaper. BCC spokesperson Felicia Bridges described the cost of housing in Berkeley as “astronomical” and expects the program to make a “tremendous difference.”
Ian Magruder, the director of partnerships at Landed, said the company not only offers the down payment program, but also provides educational materials and a network of real estate professionals who are available to give advice on the process. Magruder added that Landed is “eager and open” to exploring a partnership with the UC system.
“We know there’s a problem when not even faculty can find affordable housing, and the prospect of owning a home seems nearly impossible,” Bridges said in an email. “We are hoping that the partnership will help us move the housing equity meter at least a notch in the right direction.”
This story was originally published by The Daily Californian on September 4, 2019. The author is Sasha Langholz.
More press coverage of Landed can be found at landed.com/news.