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Live Here, Work There

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    Some cities, like West Lafayette, Indiana, are recruiting new residents.
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    More people are ready to move out of big cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.
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    Ahmed Zuhairy and Anela Malik were selected for a program that helped them move to Lowell, Arkansas. (Handout)
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    Tami Wenning and her husband, Dan, will offer free babysitting and will fill in at Grandparents Day at school as part of a program to attract remote workers to Greensburg, Indiana. (Casey Smith/Report for America via AP)
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WORLDteen | Ages 11-14 | $35.88 per year

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The global pandemic introduced millions to the concept of working remotely. This “new normal” allows workers a new opportunity: relocating without changing jobs. The trend has cities offering incentives to recruit new residents.

For many industries, remote work is possible—and lots of employees decided they liked the new set-up. Even post-pandemic, nearly half of workers surveyed by Owl Labs say they’d change jobs if they had to head back to the office.

To serve the work-from-wherever trend, businesses have emerged that match remote workers with new locales.

Christie Luther Hurst is VP of Marketing and PR for MakeMyMove. The company slogan is “Do What You Love from a Place That You Love.” The company exists “to help cities and towns across the country recruit remote workers,” she says. Her team helps “new cities to design their own recruitment programs.” Today, MakeMyMove’s website features more than 60 communities, all vying for new inhabitants.

On the site, would-be relocators can shop by offer, community, or amenity (feature). Cash deals vary widely and may include funds for moving expenses, homeownership, free or discounted co-working space, professional development, tax credits, gym memberships, sports tickets, and more.

The pandemic found Anela Malik and Ahmed Zuhairy stuck inside a cramped apartment in Washington, D.C. They relocated to northwest Arkansas thanks to a $10,000 cash bonus for their move.

“It offered us a chance to move and get a fresh start without going into debt,” says Malik.

New beginnings are a gift from the Creator. His reminders of renewal are everywhere: seasons, tides, sunrises, babies. Happily, God’s mercy renews too— “new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

But unlike God’s free gifts, many communities have strings attached to their incentives. They might require a minimum residency time, a specific size of home to be built, or other commitment to the community. Most require that, yes, you already have a job.

Some perks are unique. In Greensburg, Indiana, organizers offer gratis “Grandparents on Demand” services—for babysitting and school Grandparent Days appearances. West Lafayette, Indiana, offers complimentary meals at Purdue University. A move to Stillwater, Oklahoma, could earn you free martial arts classes.

Hurst explains, “Remote workers are demanding a better quality of life—affordability and deeper connections to their community.”

As the success of relocation programs grows, more places are signing on. “We’re talking with new cities and towns every day about creating new remote worker relocation programs,” says Hurst. She hopes to expand internationally.

For now, anyone looking to cut costs, savor new experiences, or simply start over might consider the benefits of going remote.

Why? In a world looking for excitement, ease, and “the next big thing,” our faithful God promises believers His unwavering love, faithful provision, and unending mercies.