NYC union pension systems to invest $150m in affordable city housing

NEW YORK (PAI) – Five New York City union pension systems will invest some $150 million in projects to erect 20,000 units of affordable housing in the Big Apple, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)  said.

The money is being sent to the HIT to leverage some $1 billion in total investment in the housing in all five boroughs, the trust added. Union labor will build the housing in an economically targeted investment program.

Economically targeted investments are designed to address market inefficiencies by providing capital or liquidity to under-served communities and populations across the city, added city Comptroller Scott Stringer, its chief financial officer.

Stringer also advised the union pension systems on the projects. Working with the HIT on investing in housing “is a fiscally smart marriage of resources and housing policy,” he added. The investments provide market returns to the pension funds, HIT noted.

The HIT invests in affordable housing, and sometimes other projects, nationwide. All the projects are built totally with union labor. But the new New York investment marks the first phase of a new HIT strategy for investing in the city over the next seven years, Housing Trust chief executive Stephen Coyle said.

The strategy, developed by HIT, union leaders, developers, community groups and Stringer’s staff, “aims to preserve the affordability of 12,500 to 15,000 housing units, construct 5,000 to 7,500 new housing units” and to “work with city and state agencies to finance and improve affordable public housing.”

HIT estimated the 7-year plan would produce 7,300 union construction jobs, double that number in total jobs and $1 billion in wages and benefits to workers.

Photo: HIT project, The Dempsey Apartments, an affordable housing development in the central Harlem community. The six-story building has 80 units of housing for neighborhood residents and incorporates sustainable features including a well insulated and well sealed envelope, energy efficient lighting and mechanical equipment, and EnergyStar appliances.


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Press Associates Inc. (PAI) is a union news service located in Washington, D.C. Mark Gruenberg is editor.

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