SAN JOSE, CA: The Hoffman Agency, in a move that stands in stark
contrast to the recent belt-tightening measures of its tech PR peers
(see story, above right), has introduced a new benefit program designed
to assist employees with the still-astronomical cost of living in and
around Silicon Valley.
Starting May 1, US staffers will be eligible for low-interest loans of
up to dollars 25,000 to apply to the purchase of a first home. Hoffman
will award up to two such loans per year. The agency will also provide
cash payments of dollars 250 a month to 10 employees who rent within 10
miles of a Hoffman office in the US.
Finally, for renting employees who wish to start saving to buy a home,
Hoffman will subsidize the use of a financial planner to help map out
individual savings strategies.
'We are feeling the pinch, too, and our profitability won't be at the
level it was last year,' Hoffman CFO Leon Hunt explained. 'But because
we are independent, we have the ability to invest in growing our talent
and build loyalty to put us in a better position when a turnaround