Impact Investing

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is committed to putting union capital to work in secure investments that not only produce competitive returns - its primary objective - but also create union jobs, build affordable housing, and improve the lives of working people and their communities.

The HIT takes these collateral objectives seriously. With the country trying to recover from the Great Recession and its aftermath, the HIT redoubled its efforts to create jobs by establishing a Construction Jobs Initiative that serves as an economic stimulus in communities across the country. In keeping with the job creation goals of the AFL-CIO and the North America's Building Trades Unions, the HIT has surpassed its initial goal of creating 10,000 union construction jobs and is now aiming at 25,000.

As one of the nation’s first and most experienced socially responsible investment programs, the HIT and its predecessor, the Mortgage Investment Trust, have put capital to work in demonstrable ways for over 50 years – generating competitive returns, creating union jobs, developing and preserving affordable housing, supporting homeownership, and strengthening the fabric of communities. While the HIT's primary investment objective has always been to provide its investors competitive returns, its affordable housing and job creation goals have shaped its investment program and made it one of the nation’s leading sources of affordable housing finance. Its socially responsible investments have enabled hundreds of thousands of people to live affordably in quality union-built housing and thousands more to earn a family-supporting union wage working on HIT-financed projects. Investors in the HIT have the satisfaction of a “double bottom line” – competitive performance joined with housing production, community development, and job creation.

Creating Union Jobs

HIT investments have generated some 75,000 union construction jobs. male workerHIT-financed projects, with their 100% union labor requirement, create jobs for community residents that pay family-supporting wages, with fringe benefits, including healthcare. These jobs not only maintain a decent quality of life for those employed on HIT-financed projects but they also strengthen the tax base of the communities in which the HIT invests. Community residents employed on these projects have opportunities for upward mobility through the apprenticeship training and skill upgrading programs offered through the joint union-employer apprenticeship system, in which workers learn new skills and master the latest technologies. The HIT has been successful in financing union-built multifamily housing in locations where unions have traditionally been underrepresented in residential construction. In such areas, the HIT has worked effectively to assist the local building and construction trades council and local unions to meet the HIT's labor requirements.

“This is a great project. Lots of guys are back to work... They are able to feed their families. It’s even put money back into our pension fund. This is a blessing to be back at work.”

-- Albert Braxton, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 562, Park Pacific, St. Louis

Expanding the Supply of Housing

workersThrough its financing of multifamily projects, the HIT is helping raise the standard of living for union families and their neighbors, financing more than 100,000 units through investments of more than $7 billion since its inception in 1984.

An in-house team of housing finance experts makes the HIT a valuable resource for community organizations, developers, and public agencies seeking assistance in financing and structuring the development or preservation of housing. Drawing on its in-depth expertise in housing, the HIT uses its investments to meet the residential needs for housing affordable to low-income families and for workforce housing that gives workers, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters the opportunity to live in the urban areas where they work.

Advancing Community Development

The HIT’s investments in housing help communities to improve the quality of urban life and meet redevelopment goals while preserving affordability. Its strategy of community investing has a proven track record in mobilizing public and private investment resources to address urgent areawide needs for housing. Special community investment initiatives are currently underway in New York City, Illinois, and Massachusetts, to spur needed investment in those areas.

Old Colony Residents With its internal expertise in housing finance, the HIT has been able to help many communities revitalize deteriorating neighborhoods, convert outmoded office and industrial properties into attractive new housing, maintain the affordability of expiring use properties, and create supportive housing for members of the community with special needs. With many of its investment activities focused on high density urban areas, the HIT supports projects that are environmentally responsible, such as transit-oriented development. Its investments in urban housing and mixed-use developments are helping to transform communities and strengthen the economic base of the cities and towns that union members call home.

As it works with local and state officials to meet area housing needs, the HIT is making an impact on the quality of life in America’s communities.

“Thank you for believing in us here at Riverside Plaza. Thank you for helping us make it a better place to call home.”

-- A 32-year resident of Riverside Plaza