Hospital employees get incentive for living close to Medical District

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The workday is wrapping up for Markesa Peete, a receptionist at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, and that means it's almost time for her daily commute back home.

When she started the job seven months ago, she said she considered living closer to the hospital, but, like the vast majority of her fellow employees, she settled on somewhere else.

"I wanted to be closer to shopping," she said.

According to figures provided by the hospital, only 3 percent of their employees currently live in the Medical District.

They're hoping the new "Live Local" program will change that.

"We`re getting some new things like restaurants and other amenities come in. There`s gonna be growth. It`s good to get on the ground floor," said Dr. John McCullers, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Le Bonheur.

The program offers home loans to employees at participating hospitals and schools including Le Bonheur, the Regional Medical Center, the UT Health Science Center and ALSAC. They can get up to $15,000 towards the purchase of a home or $2,000 for rent as long as they move to the Medical District, the Pinch District or Uptown.

"A new nurse out of training — that money can be a really big factor in saying, `Hey, it`s not only convenient for me, but it`s gonna help my bottom line.`"

This isn`t just for folks moving here to the Medical District. There`s also benefits for folks who already live here.

Hospital employees can get $1,000 for renewing their lease or a matching allowance of up to $5,000 for improvements they make to the outside of their home.

"It would definitely make me think twice."

The program has gotten Peete's attention, and she said some day, she may take them up on their offer.

"Actually, my husband and I are thinking about moving within the next two years, so that would be something that I would definitely consider."

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