ST. LOUIS — BJC HealthCare and Washington University in St. Louis are expanding their “Live Near Your Work” program to support employees and revitalize underserved neighborhoods. The program now offers forgivable home loans, benefiting employees and communities.

“The Live Near Your Work program was designed to ease the financial burden of buying a home for BJC and Washington University employees, while helping to improve the economic health of our region,” said Deidre Griffith, BJC vice president of community health improvement.

This program, open to all eligible employees, now offers $12,500 forgivable home loans, a significant increase from the program’s inception in 1997. The expansion includes neighborhoods hit hard by historical disinvestment, particularly in the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County, aligning with local initiatives to advance racial equity and economic opportunities.

Applicants can use the forgivable loan toward a down payment or closing costs, with the loan forgiven after five years if the employee continues to live in the home and maintains a benefits-eligible position at BJC or Washington University.

Lisa Weingarth, senior advisor for St. Louis initiatives at Washington University, emphasized the institutions’ commitment to making St. Louis a healthier and more prosperous place for all. “We do that by delivering excellent patient care to the region, supporting local businesses, and expanding economic and educational opportunities for our combined workforce of more than 52,000 employees,” Weingarth stated.

The “Live Near Your Work” program has been around for 26 years, with BJC and Washington University consistently increasing its budget, eligible neighborhoods, and loan sizes. Today, both institutions allocate $300,000 each per year to support the program.