AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust Adds $138 Million in Job-Creating, Affordable Housing Constructions
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is playing an increasing role in fighting the unemployment epidemic by promoting and financing projects that bring competitive returns to its investors while creating union jobs. HIT currently manages $4.4 billion in assets for 350 investors and since its inception has invested over $6.4 billion to finance more than 102,000 units of housing nationwide, generating over 70,000 union jobs.
Currently, the economic stimulus created by HIT is being enjoyed by workers in Boston where the trust has invested $90 million into the renovation and modernization of two housing developments. The projects will create 150 union jobs and be conducted through collective bargaining agreements with the Building and Construction Trades. This provides work for union members in the region as well as affordable housing for current and future residents.
“It’s good to see union pension capital being invested in these projects that are going to create family-supporting jobs for our members while also preserving low-cost housing that our community needs,” said Martin J. Walsh, Secretary-Treasurer and General Business Agent, Metropolitan District Building and Construction Trades Council.
Project developer POAH, LLC, is an affiliate of Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit organization that acquires, preserves, and manages subsidized affordable housing developments around the country.
“When affordability is lost, families are displaced, lives are disrupted, and people no longer have economic security,” said Rodger Brown, Managing Director of Real Estate Development for Preservation of Affordable Housing. “It is absolutely essential that we stabilize these properties and ensure that they remain affordable for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities well into the future.”
In the Pacific Northwest, similar investments are helping union workers in Seattle to get back to work. There, HIT has announced a $48 million construction project that will bring hundreds of jobs to the region. The construction of the Youngstown Flats residential development will create 193 rental units in the neighborhood of North Delridge. The project will be built with environmentally friendly methods and sustainably sourced materials. The development will also have community gardens and bike repair rooms.
Last week, 150 Building and Construction Trades members, including Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, held a luncheon with local labor leaders and politicians to celebrate the investment.
“This is the kind of project that will make a significant impact on the local economy. The new building creates jobs which will invite new residents to our community. They, in turn, will patron neighborhood businesses. We are proud to support this project and co-host this event to thank the workers on site. We look forward to partnering with the BIT to bring more development and jobs to Seattle in the near future.”
This sentiment was echoed by Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council. “Far too many people in Washington State are still unemployed or underemployed. The Youngstown Flats will provide hundreds of jobs for local workers during construction, and further down the road in the maintenance of the completed building. Projects like these are exactly what we need to reduce unemployment in our state.”