Meriter’s Healthy Neighborhood Initiative

Andy Evenson and his wife Mary Giblin take a quick break while remodeling their new home.

Two Meriter employees recently bought new homes, thanks in part to the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative. The initiative is a unique home buyer’s assistance program designed to catalyze urban renewal in the historic Greenbush and Vilas neighborhoods. Meriter’s initiative supports the area’s revitalization with generous, forgivable grants to be used by employees for down payment and closing costs assistance on homes near the hospital.

“Meriter has deep roots in this area and we’re committed to revitalizing our historic neighborhoods and supporting healthy communities,” says Jim Woodward, Meriter President and CEO. “We believe this innovative program is a win-win-win, for our employees, our neighbors and Madison.”

The revitalization project aims to stabilize the area by attracting buyers who will be long-term residents dedicated to renovating and redeveloping historic neighborhood homes. Meriter’s new program offers forgivable grants of $20,000 for home buying costs; employees are required to continue to work at Meriter and maintain the home as their primary residence for five years.  The program began with four grants available to employees on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Meriter initiative presented a welcome incentive for business intelligence analyst Andrew Evenson; he took ownership of his Greenbush home on May 15, fulfilling a long-time wish to return to the area: “The first apartment I rented when I moved to Madison in 1996 was in the Greenbush Neighborhood. Ever since, I’ve dreamed of coming back to the neighborhood as a homeowner. We are currently renting in the neighborhood and we love the area. I’m glad Meriter is helping to preserve it,” he said.

Jocelin Reatiraza, an internal medicine physician with Meriter Medical Group, is also set to close on her first new home. “We are thrilled to become part of Madison’s historic Greenbush/Vilas neighborhood, thanks to Meriter’s generous program,” she shared.

Meriter’s Healthy Neighborhood Initiative complements the City of Madison’s loan program, which offers up to $10,000 in matching funds to any person who agrees to purchase a home in the Greenbush-Vilas neighborhoods, with an employer contribution.

In partnership with Common Wealth Development, Meriter also provides financial readiness education, homeownership purchase education and rehab project consultation to employees prior to their home purchase.

Congratulations to Andrew Evenson and Jocelin Reatiraza on the purchase of your new homes. Welcome to the neighborhood!

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