Employer-Provided Housing Sustains Elder Care Homes

Three older friends meet in a hallway
This scene was created by affordablehousingaction.org and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
Life at its best for old, close friends. Elder care can provide services that many households can't manage, even for their most cherished love ones. But does elder care actually have the resources to help, when traditionally low paid staff can't find affordable housing?

The issue of workforce housing has been getting more attention. When local public servants (fire fighters, paramedics and police officers) can’t afford housing, governments pay attention. The same is true for school boards which need teachers.

In all cases, the problem affects the Council’s/School Board’s bottom line. Their employees can’t afford housing, which becomes a pressure to increase wages. If wages go up, taxes or other fees will have to rise to cover the cost.

Recognizing that the problem is rooted in housing costs, some employers have been getting into the housing business1.

Such is the case for Jamie’s Place, a non-profit that provides 24/7 elder care in a rural part of Washington state. They don’t have a large workforce (14 people) but they need all those positions filled to operate their two care homes. Pay levels are well below the income needed to afford renting, never mind ownership.

Jamie’s Place obtained permission from local authorities to operate two temporary homes on the premises for one year2. The homes have proved very helpful in recruiting and retaining staff.

Jamie’s Place is small and in a rural area. It is similar to school boards in large cities as well as large companies in rural areas that need a workforce (e.g. to operate a mine)3. Without employees, the work won’t get done.

Read more in Shelterforce: Why an Eldercare Facility Turned to Employer-Provided Housing


  1. Try: Mining Schools For Adult Gold Needs ‘Company Town’ Housing For Teachers
  2. Funding for construction and installation came from a grant and a private donation.
  3. Try: Mountain View, CA: Hardship Posting For Teachers Plays ‘Company Town’