September dawn bottoms for NPR
$ 10,000 is a big chunk of money. But is it sufficient to convince you to move to a completely different part of the country and to move to it?
Certain cities and regions in the heart of America offer that amount – and more. They seek to bring energy and vitality to their cities by attracting dynamic workers. With hordes of people working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, these programs are getting a lot of attention as people in crowded cities look for more space and affordable housing.
Northwest Arkansas It launched its program this year, in the middle of the pandemic. Other cities in the heart of the country have similar incentives: Topeka, Can.; North Platte, NP.; Hamilton, OhioAnd and Newton, Iowa.
And Tulsa, Oklahoma, has seen a surge of interest recently in an initiative it launched two years ago.
“We’ve seen the number of requests over the past six months triple,” says Ben Stewart, interim manager. Tulsa remote control, A program that offers $ 10,000 to successful applicants wishing to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The city was focusing on the growing number of “laptop workers” who could do their jobs from home – or the local co-workplace or coffee shop when it launched the program two years ago. Since 2018, it has already welcomed nearly 500 new residents, according to Stewart.
Galisa Garland moved to Tulsa in October, returning from Berkeley, California. Living in the extravagant Bay Area was challenging as she shared a home with four to six roommates, paying $ 1,150 for a tiny bedroom.
“I shared the bathroom with at least three other people at any time,” she says. “Yes, it was cruel.”
The roughness got more severe when the pandemic struck, and she and all of her roommates worked from home. Garland knew it was time to find a new city. It’s considered somewhat cheaper places that are popular with millennials just like it – like Austin, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and then I heard about Tulsa Remote. The program you fund Family of George Caesar Foundation I hosted for a visit in July. It was sold out.
“I was very amazed at the quality of life here and what you can get for the money,” she says. “So it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Today, Garland lives in a one-bedroom apartment with a fireplace and patio, with her two dogs, and she rescued one of them on a remote New Mexico road while driving east from Berkeley.
“I share the bathroom,” she jokes. “it’s great.” Its rent is $ 940 a month.
But the experience of moving from the Gulf to Oklahoma involves more than one bank account consolidation. They are two different social ecosystems, especially when it comes to politics. Garland, a Democrat, says her new Tulsa neighborhood is surprisingly progressive. But she does realize that other parts of the city and the country are more conservative. She is okay with that, so she welcomes it.
“Especially in these difficult political times, you have to see the other side,” says Garland. “And so I think living in this city is going to give me a chance to better understand the other side of things. So I think it’s actually very exciting.”
Northwest Arkansas It launched its program this year. The pandemic has presented an opportunity, says Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “When COVID happened, we really saw people reassess their lifestyle and what they saw was important and we felt we needed to take advantage of that.”
The area is home to companies like Walmart and the University of Arkansas and is surrounded by lakes and mountains as you have seen it on the popular TV show “Ozark”. The pull of the outdoor attraction is the Northwest Arkansas pay-to-go offer for the bike – to go for the $ 10,000 mark. However, the cost of living in the area may prove to be the strongest temptation. To take an extreme example, Peacock says that a salary of $ 150,000 in an expensive city like San Francisco equals an annual wage of $ 63,000 in northwest Arkansas.
Of course, all of these incentive programs cost money, and the looming question is whether they will be well spent. Northwest Arkansas, funded by The Walton Family Foundation(NPR financial backer) will spend more than $ 1 million over six months.
Urban scientist Richard Florida has worked with both Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas in their efforts to attract remote workers. It is believed that these types of campaigns will benefit small cities in the heart of the country. But only if they are attractive places to live. Cash incentives won’t do the trick on their own.
He says welcome payments are not a waste of communities. “I think it definitely will pay off much better than paying out millions of dollars in corporate tax incentives,” says Florida. “A small human motivation is better.” In the end, he says some of these places won’t need you to cash in anymore.
The epidemic unleashed a new migration in the country. As many as 23 million Americans say they plan to move due to the flexibility that remote work provides, according to another Until work The survey. Florida says that if cities are affordable and have a good quality of life, the newcomers will find it on their own.