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Travel Nursing Housing: Agency Placed Housing vs. Stipend

May 25, 2017
by Voyage Healthcare

For many travel nurses, housing can be one of the most important aspects of a pay package. It’s the first thing they want details about after applying for a position and it can certainly be a deal breaker. But not all travel nurses are so concerned as long as they’re making money and have a place to sleep.

That doesn’t change the fact that housing can make or break the overall experience of an assignment. Even if you spend most of your free time out exploring your new city, you’ll still spend a good chunk of time in your temporary home.

Travel Nursing Housing Options

Travel nurse housing can be broken down into two options: 1) agency placed (arranged by the agency) or 2) stipend pay (you receive a stipend and make your own housing arrangements).

At Voyage, we identify accommodations based on safety, quality, proximity to facility, and amenities; bringing you the highest caliber housing available. While on assignment, Voyage either pays 100% for the cost of housing, furnishings, and basic utilities, or if you wish to handle your own living arrangements, we will provide you with a generous housing allowance.

While nurses often choose both options, it is recommended that all first time travelers take advantage of agency provided housing, because your first assignment can be overwhelming. It’s easier to let your agency deal with the housing piece while you figure the rest out. Once you are a seasoned traveler, you’ll feel more empowered to decide which option is best, without getting too stressed.

Benefits of Agency Placed Housing

Most agencies have a housing department that will find a place that will place you in a short-term lease (often they have long leases that they rotate travelers in and out of). They’ll rent your furniture package, pay your utilities, and can even get your housewares (linens and dishes – typically for an extra fee).

Here are some benefits to choosing to have your housing selected for you:

  • It’s simple. If you’re not that concerned about your housing or are new to traveling, it is definitely the easier option. You don’t have to worry about deposits and getting utilities turned on, etc.
  • Housing availability. It’s sometimes difficult to find housing on your own in smaller cities with limited housing options.
  • Better pricing. Agency placed housing may provide better options than the offered stipend can afford.
  • Better treatment. Landlords/management tend to be more helpful when they are trying to please a large company with potential for a long-term contract versus an individual.
  • No money up-front. With agency appointed housing you don’t have to come up with money out of pocket for lease/deposits/etc.
  • Safeguard for cancellations. You eliminate potentially expensive problems if your assignment gets canceled or if you have an emergency.

Benefits of Stipend Pay / Finding Your Own Housing

When you choose to go with a housing stipend, you are responsible for finding, booking, and paying for all of your own housing and the expenses that go along with it. The exact amount of your stipend can differ greatly based on the location and specific contract.

Something to keep in mind with this option is that although the stipend might sound like a lot, finding a 3-month rental isn’t always easy. Then having it furnished or renting furniture can add more money. Finally, you’ll need to factor in utilities. When you do find a rental, you may be charged a premium (often double or triple the normal rent) for such a short-term lease.

There are still a few benefits to finding your own housing, including:

  • Control of where you live. For some, travel nursing is about immersing yourself in your new city. Finding a place that is unique and your style can help you feel like you’re really getting the full experience.
  • Control of your amenities. Agency housing doesn’t always include everything you might be looking for. For instance, having a washer & dryer in your unit may be essential for you or you may prefer two bedroom apartments over one bedroom. If you want larger you have to pay extra (sometimes a lot extra).
  • Potential to save money. Some nurses opt to stay in lower cost housing and save the rest of their housing money. Others take their furniture and save money there. Just depends on what you are willing to live with.
  • More time to settle in. When taking agency housing, you are typically allotted a couple days to move in before your start date and a couple days following the last day of your contract. That is usually enough, but by getting your own housing, you have extra flexibility with timing.

Voyage Healthcare has new opportunities available across the country come up all the time! Check out our current job openings here.

You can also call us at (800) 798-6035 or contact us online if you have additional questions about the housing options or other benefits we provide.