CHICAGO, Aug. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers, as well as labor leaders and construction workers, praised the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) for its three decades of creating jobs and expanding the supply of affordable housing in the city's neighborhoods.
On August 10, the HIT hosted a worker appreciation lunch at the construction site of Kenmore Plaza Apartments in the Edgewater neighborhood, where union workers are rehabilitating a historically significant 324-unit, 28-story residential development. The HIT is providing $22.9 million of union capital towards the $61 million project, which is expected to generate approximately 110 union jobs for members of the building and construction trades.
"I applaud the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust for their continued commitment to investing in neighborhoods throughout Chicago," said Treasurer Summers. "Investing in projects like the Kenmore Plaza highlights the AFL-CIO HIT's dedication to neighborhood development, but more importantly their commitment to their membership that job creation remains a top priority across the country. Investing in HIT projects is an investment in working families and why I am proud to stand in support of the AFL-CIO HIT initiative and the innovative work they are able to accomplish."
The work at Kenmore Plaza is helping to preserve an important source of affordable housing for seniors in Chicago and to enable the property to meet modern energy and water usage standards at the same time it helps build retirement security.
"We appreciate HIT's commitment to and support of union construction at numerous projects that have put our members to work in the Chicago area for nearly 30 years," said Mike Macellaio, Secretary–Treasurer of the Chicago Building and Construction Trades Council. "We recognize the benefits this commitment has provided to the workers and the community."
Rob Ferrino, CEO of Madison Construction, said that union workers are directly responsible for the "amazing transformation" at Kenmore Plaza. He added, "Utilizing skilled tradesmen gives confidence to all involved that the quality and craftsmanship of this project are not compromised. Madison Construction has worked with the HIT on at least five projects recently and is grateful to them for improving environmental conditions and the quality of life for senior residents within the City of Chicago."
On-site construction workers at Kenmore Plaza also voiced support for the union jobs created. Charlie Williams, a Laborer from Local 6, said, "My dad and uncle were union laborers and carpenters. Building union means you have men and women who take pride in their work. Because of union benefits, I can provide a better life for my wife and children. My children are college grads with careers now. Being a union man has set the foundation for my family." Lionel James, an apprentice also with Local 6 added, "I was working three minimum wage jobs before. This job is a life changer, now that I work in the union."
The HIT has financed 43 projects in the Chicago area since 1988. This area is a strong market for the HIT, which has invested approximately $457 million in projects with total development investment of over $1 billion. These projects have built or preserved 10,255 housing units and created an estimated 6,500 union construction jobs and approximately 6,300 jobs across other industries. Total economic benefit to the area is estimated at nearly $2 billion.
About the HIT
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is a fixed-income investment company regulated by the federal securities laws administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages over $5.9 billion in assets for over 390 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 and workforce housing and generating employment for union members in the construction trades and related industries. Since its inception, the HIT has invested $10 billion (in current dollars) to finance more than 101,000 units of housing nationwide, generating more than 76,000 union jobs. More information is available on the HIT's website, www.aflcio-hit.com. Job and economic benefit estimates (in 2015 dollars) are calculated by Pinnacle Economics and the HIT using an IMPLAN input-output model based on HIT project data and secondary source materials.
Michael K. Frisby
SOURCE AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust