NEW YORK, NY - The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced a partnership with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and a coalition of unions, area churches and developers known as the United Clergy Task Force (UCTF) to invest up to $300 million in affordable housing, community centers and care facilities on sites in the Metro area.
The seven projects slated for development in the first phase of the partnership are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Jersey City. The partnership will utilize union labor and the projects could create an estimated 1,500 union construction jobs. The Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) will operate a robust apprenticeship program with a particular emphasis on training and hiring residents of the local communities for the construction work.
Noting the significance of the partnership, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, said, "This partnership with the United Clergy Task Force has the potential to be a model for how affordable housing can be union built across this country."
The historic partnership, which utilizes union and public pension funds to finance development on the property owned by the religious organizations, aims to address the shortage of affordable housing in the city, as well as offer other benefits in underserved communities. In the last 10 years, 400,000 rental units with rents less than $1,000 per month disappeared from the housing market in New York City, while median apartment rents increased a staggering 75 percent since 2000.
"We welcome the opportunity to provide construction and permanent financing for the housing elements of the plan," said Stephen Coyle, HIT's CEO. "Working with the task force, the Building and Construction Trades Council unions, the Central Labor Council, and the Consortium for Worker Education, we are paving a new avenue for the construction of affordable housing in this nation and creating good paying jobs that can support working families. This is an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the fabric of our communities."
Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said the partnership will help create good jobs for hardworking New Yorkers, while helping to increase the supply of affordable housing available in the City. "By convening this coalition of labor, clergy, and community groups, we are bringing together the local stakeholders determined to help provide real opportunities for more people to live, work, raise families, and invest in their local communities," he said.
"This $300 million investment clearly demonstrates that needed affordable housing can be built while also creating good, middle-class construction jobs with benefits," said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "We look forward to continue developing ways to address the affordable housing shortage in New York City and create real opportunities for working families in underserved communities."
David Aviles, UCTF's Executive Director, said that each religious institution has served as a community anchor for decades and is seeking to increase its ability to provide social services and economic opportunities for their long disenfranchised communities.
"Each institution owns their land," Mr. Aviles said. "Most have owned their property for more than 30 years. The focus of these projects is to provide each community with quality housing affordable for working families, modern schools, and public recreation facilities and to do so in a way that creates jobs and maximizes the local economic impact in a sustainable manner."