Home repair program to invest $30 million in blighted Detroit neighborhoods

detroit-vacant (1)The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced today that it will invest up to $30 million in the Detroit Neighborhood Home Repair Program, a partnership with leading civic and community organizations to rejuvenate up to 300 single-family homes and properties that have faced decades of blight.

“It is wonderful to see the AFL-CIO, an organization that played such an important role in building Detroit, investing so much to help build Detroit again through the Housing Investment Trust,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This will create jobs and training opportunities to Detroit residents, and will do so much to strengthen our neighborhoods.”

The HIT, a fixed-income investment company, aims to create a sustainable and replicable model program to acquire, repair, and finance abandoned homes and properties in the Detroit Land Bank Authority inventory utilizing union labor over the next three to five years.

“Union workers using union pension money to rebuild homes for working families is the right formula for rebuilding Detroit,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

In addition to the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the HIT’s partners include the City of Detroit, Detroit City Council, Michigan Building Trades, Jim Jenkins, Jenkins Construction, as well as Building Detroit Futures and Southwest Housing Solutions.

“The Building Trades are happy to be part of this partnership, which will put union workers to work and provide training, skills and a career path for Detroit residents,” said  Pat Devlin, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. “We look forward to   helping to provide rehabilitated homes for the community.”

The Detroit City Council will vote on the program on Tuesday.

Initially, the program will focus on homes in Detroit’s Bagley, Shultz, Crary/St. Mary’s, and East English Village neighborhoods, but will expand to include Grandmont Rosedale and other neighborhoods with housing in need of renovations. The neighborhoods will also benefit from union apprentice programs that are specifically aimed at providing union construction jobs for Detroit residents, especially minorities and women.

“In addition to providing an investment that will lead to the creating of more workforce housing, this project will provide employment opportunities for residents of Detroit, while also revitalizing neighborhoods by giving life to vacant and abandoned properties.” said Eric W. Price, HIT’s Executive Vice President and CEO of its affiliate Building America CDE, Inc.

The city’s widespread blight and abandonment has led to extremely low appraisal values, making it difficult for potential homeowners to obtain financing. The Neighborhood Home Repair Program is designed to create homeownership opportunities and foster long-term neighborhood stabilization. Incentives will be given to municipal workers, including teachers, firefighters, and police, as well as union members, and current and former neighborhood residents.

About the HIT

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is a fixed-income investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages over $5 billion in assets for more than 370 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans. The HIT invests primarily in government and agency insured and guaranteed multifamily mortgage-backed securities. The HIT is one of the earliest and most successful practitioners of socially responsible, economically targeted investing, with a track record of over 30 years that demonstrates the added value derived from union-friendly investments. The investment objective of the HIT is to provide competitive returns for its investors and to promote the collateral objectives of constructing affordable housing and generating employment for union members in the construction trades and related industries. Since its inception, the HIT has invested $8.5 billion (in current dollars) to finance more than 100,000 units of housing nationwide, generating over 75,000 union construction jobs. More information is available on the HIT’s website, www.aflcio-hit.com.

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