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WASHINGTON, DC-The National Association of Realtors has established a new $5.23-million grant program under its larger umbrella of programs to facilitate affordable or workforce housing. Called the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants, the funds will be dispersed in amounts up to $50,000 to state or territorial Realtor associations.

The grants–whose criteria have been loosely defined deliberately–are expected to act as seed money to launch even larger initiatives in a particular locality, Lora McCray, manager of NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, tells GlobeSt.com. “We wanted to fund programs that would have a greater impact in a particular area,” she says.

NAR did not want to prescribe how the grants would be used; conceivably a grant could fund a study for the appropriate model for affordable housing in a particular city or area, or be used to support multifamily development, or to establish an affordable housing down payment fund or a land trust.

The housing grant program is part of a steady progression of NAR initiatives in this area, McCray adds. Since 2003, through various programs and summits, the organization has been helping brokers create more affordable housing opportunities. The program was named in honor of Ira Gribin, a former NAR president and affordable housing advocate.

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