Hospital offers new employees temporary housing

Low unemployment and low housing vacancies mean newcomers to southern New Hampshire often find work before they find a place to live.

The housing shortage in the popular Seacoast area is so acute that Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover leases a limited number of apartments as temporary housing for new employees.

“We allow employees who are relocating from out of state to live there for three months, rent free,” said Christi Green, the hospital’s human resources manager. “We also pay for the electricity.”

If employees haven’t found housing of their own by the end of that time, “Of course we don’t kick them out. They can stay there, but then they take over the rent and pay for the electricity.”

The arrangement is a stopgap measure to help employees caught in the housing crunch. The hospital has seven such apartments available now, but that’s up from just three a year ago. Wentworth-Douglass has more than 1,300 employees, including about 300 full- and part-time nurses.

The nursing staff is expected to grow as the hospital adds positions for the graduates of its nursing residency program, a 12-week internship. The current vacancy rate in nursing positions at the hospital is 4.2 percent, well below both state and national averages.

“By bringing on new graduate nurses, obviously we’re going to
contribute to our nursing staff and keep our vacancy rate low,” said Green. “Because basically we’re growing nurses here.”

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