Written by Amanda Push
COVID-19 continues to change the work landscape for the world, and for health and safety purposes, many people are choosing to work remotely instead of commuting to an office. As a result, thousands of workers now have the flexibility to work from wherever they want. To take advantage of that, many towns across the U.S. are offering financial incentives for people to move to the area. This deal can be mutually beneficial, as movers are provided lump sums of cash while the city is able to build its workforce and economy.
However, these opportunities are not without their downsides, as some programs have strict eligibility requirements, such as purchasing a house or having to live in the area for at least a year before receiving the money. Still, for many people, these types of programs are enticing, with the perks far outweighing the drawbacks.
Extra Space Storage compiled a list of ten U.S. cities that offer some kind of incentive to reside and work there. The incentives vary, from grants covering moving expenses to money put toward building or buying a new home in the city to free coworking spaces. This story features information on how to apply for these incentives and what requirements each city has for people interested in utilizing the incentives.
Located in North Central Minnesota, Bemidji is far away from, well, a lot. But that isn’t stopping Bemidji from becoming a “Zoom town” and doing its best to attract more residents. A town of nearly 15,000 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, Bemidji offers the Greater Bemidji 218 Relocate Incentive Package to telecommuters who are looking for something new. Among the package includes up to $2,500 to cover moving expenses, a free one-year membership to a local coworking space, and free membership to community and networking programs. To be eligible, however, you’ll need to already be employed full-time as a telecommuter, live at least 60 miles from the town, become a full-time resident of Bemidji, and demonstrate experience as a telecommuter.
With more than 10,000 open positions in Northwest Arkansas, which includes the cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale, and Lowell, the area is ripe for professionals looking for new jobs. Bentonville, home of Walmart, is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, and the Northwest Arkansas Council has invested $1 million into incentivizing people to move to the region. The council is also offering $10,000—which can be received via cash or cryptocurrency—to remote workers who choose to move to the area as part of the Finding NWA program. These professionals can also receive a free bike to enjoy the state’s beautiful outdoor recreation areas as well. However, to qualify, you must be 24 or older, be employed full time (even if self-employed), have worked for at least two years, be a resident outside of Arkansas, be willing to move to northwest Arkansas within six months of being accepted into a program, and be eligible to work in the U.S.
Lincoln is one of the smallest towns on this list with a population of nearly 3,000 residents. The town’s low cost of living and low crime rate may sound like an appealing alternative to life in a big city for many. However, that’s not all Lincoln has in store: The town even offers free land to new residents, with lots ranging from 14,000 to 35,000 square feet. However, there are some limitations outlined by the county: No farm animals are allowed; no grants are available to help owners build on the lots; and no mobile homes are allowed, though you can have a modular or pre-manufactured house transported to the site.
Would you move to West Virginia for $12,000? With a population of more than 30,000, Morgantown is one of the larger cities on this list, and the state is looking to incentivize people to move there. Known as Ascend West Virginia, the $12,000 reward for moving to Morgantown comes in two installments. You’ll receive $10,000 via monthly payments when you first move to the area, then another $2,000 once you reach your second year. In Morgantown, you’ll also have admittance to a free coworking space as well as access to free outdoor activities. To qualify, you’ll need to be a resident outside of West Virginia, be willing to move within six months of being accepted into the Ascend program, and prove you are a full-time remote employee.
New Haven, CT
If you’re dreaming of owning your own home but don’t have the funds to do so, New Haven, Connecticut, may interest you. Boasting 134,000 residents, the city is willing to provide up to $10,000 to first-time homeowners to be used toward a down payment or closing costs. But the deal doesn’t end there: The city is also willing to provide a 0% interest loan that will be forgiven at a 20% rate each year, to be completely absolved after five years. However, if you sell your home within that time frame, you’ll need to either repay the balance to the city or have the new buyer take on the remaining amount.
Should you buy a home in Newton, Iowa, you may be eligible for $10,000, courtesy of the “Get to Know Newton” welcome package. You can qualify for this deal if you purchase a home at a value of $190,000 or more. However, if you purchase a home below that value, you may still receive tax abatements. This deal is only available for homes being constructed through 2023 and will be given during closing. To receive the $10,000, you must prove the home’s value via an appraisal or assessment, and the house cannot be a rental.
North Platte, NE
The Midwest abounds with cities looking to inspire a new local workforce. In order to build a larger labor pool and local economy, the city of North Platte, Nebraska, is offering signing bonuses for up to $5,000 if you take a job there. Located in western Nebraska, North Platte is a city of more than 23,000 residents with a low cost of living. In fact, the median value of homes in North Platte is $118,900, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau. The signing bonus program is available through the city’s WorkNP program.
Topeka, Kansas, is offering one of the largest sums on this list to entice people to move there. As part of Choose Topeka, the state capital is attracting professionals to move there to work on-site for $15,000 if you purchase a home and $10,000 if you rent. If you work remotely, you could earn up to $5,000 if you rent and $10,000 if you buy a home. To be eligible, you’ll need to move and then rent or buy a home in Topeka within a year of the offer. To find out whether you can qualify for the incentive, you’ll need to check with your employer.
If you choose to work remotely and purchase a home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you may be given $10,000, thanks to Tulsa Remote. Tulsa is one of the few major cities on this list, with a population of nearly 670,000 residents. This program will offer you money to cover moving expenses, provide you with a monthly stipend, and give you the rest after you’ve lived in Tulsa for an entire year. If you purchase a home in Tulsa, you’ll be provided the $10,000 as a lump sum. To receive the money, you’ll need to move to Tulsa within 12 months of being accepted to the program, be a full-time remote employee or be self-employed outside of Oklahoma, be 18 or older, and be a U.S. permanent resident.
West Lafayette, IN
West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to Purdue University, and the school wants you to make the city your new home, too. Through its Work From Purdue program, Purdue offers professionals the opportunity to work remotely and live in the Discovery Park District. By relocating here through the program, movers can earn stipends from $1,000 to $5,000. To qualify, you’ll need to move to West Lafayette within six months of being accepted into the program. However, applicants will also need to live in the city for at least one year and will be responsible for finding their own housing.