Cassie and Tyler Woodward were "just looking" when they went to an open house showing of a single-family home in the Washburn neighborhood in La Crosse, Wisconsin. But after they stepped inside, "just looking" began to slide toward "well, maybe" for the first-time homebuyers. "We came in here, a little hesitant at first, but as we went through the house … it started to feel like this would be perfect for what we needed," Tyler Woodward tells La Crosse's WKBT-TV.
The house would also be a perfect location for Cassie, as it sits "about a block" from the Mayo Clinic Health System–Franciscan Healthcare campus where she works as a surgical technologist. There was just one problem. Cassie and Tyler didn't think they were ready to become homeowners. They were living in an apartment in nearby Onalaska. But the couple kept walking through the house, anyway, and listening to the sales pitch, which like the home itself, was becoming more appealing as time went on.
The home was part of a now-five-year effort by the city of La Crosse and Mayo Clinic Health System–Franciscan Healthcare to "revitalize" the city's Washburn and Powell–Poage–Hamilton neighborhoods. The effort also aims to get more "eligible Mayo Clinic Health System–Franciscan Healthcare employees" like Cassie into those neighborhoods so they can live closer to where they work. And they're doing it, the station reports, with the help of Mayo Clinic Health System–Franciscan Healthcare's Employer-Assisted Housing Program, which gives eligible employees a $5,000 "deferred and forgivable" grant toward the purchase of an existing home in either neighborhood.
"When we came and looked at this property, and found out about the programs that they had, we realized that we could have this house right away," Cassie tells WKBT. The station reports that under the program, the $5,000 grant Cassie and Tyler received will be forgiven as long as Cassie continues to work for Mayo Clinic Health System–Franciscan Healthcare for five years and her family continues to live in their new home for five years. Neither of which is likely to be an issue, as Cassie tells the station she and Tyler couldn't be happier with their new home, and with Mayo for giving them the opportunity. "That they are that invested in the employees and the community, it makes me feel good that you're valued and that they really look to better their community," she says.
You can help us better our online community by sharing your comments below. You'll find handy social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.