As cost of living in the Seattle area rises, Bellevue College is becoming the first higher education institution to partner with a program that helps school employees afford homes.

The program, Landed, started in 2015 and migrated to the Seattle area in October 2018 with a partnership with Bellevue School District. In the months since, Landed has given home buying or financial wellness resources to more than 100 BSD employees, three of whom have successfully closed on homes.

“The cost of living in the greater Seattle area is a challenge for our faculty and staff. Too many are unable to afford the down payment on a home close to where they work,” Bellevue College President Jerry Weber said in a statement. “We’re encouraged by the early success that Landed is already having for the Bellevue School District. Our hope is that this program will make homeownership more accessible to our employees.”

Landed works by providing half of the down payment of a home in exchange for a portion of the change in value when the home is sold. This profit is then reinvested in the down payments of other educators and school employees.

Though Landed has been helping K-12 public educators purchase homes in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver, and Seattle since 2015, the partnership with Bellevue College is the company’s first expansion into higher education.

“Growing up in Bellevue, I’ve seen the dramatic change in affordability in the community and the need for new solutions to help educators and essential professionals be able to afford to build financial security,” Landed co-founder Alex Lofton said in a statement. “We founded Landed to help improve financial security not only for educators, but for all essential professionals struggling to afford to live in expensive communities and expanding from K-12 to higher education is an important milestone in realizing this vision.”

All full-time faculty, staff, and administrators who have been with Bellevue College for two years will have access to the program. Interested employees can apply now online.