The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), DC 37 and the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) today celebrated the one year anniversary of the Municipal Employees Housing Program (MEHP). Developed through a partnership between HPD, DC 37, NHS and Amalgamated Bank, MEHP allows all municipal workers preference for 5% of units in City-sponsored lotteries for affordable homes and apartments. In addition, MEHP provides down payment grants of up to 6% of purchase price or on average $20,000 to first-time home buyers through HPD’s HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program and NHS. The program, which is for municipal employees who reside in New York City, also offers homebuyer training and seminars covering credit, budgeting, predatory lending, home maintenance and repair. Since August 2005, 3,525 DC 37 members have completed the MEHP seminars.
Joining HPD, NHS, and DC 37 officials at the event was DC 37 member Gerald Horton. Originally from Trinidad, West Indies, and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Horton is a Technology Support Representative for the Brooklyn Public Library and learned about MEHP while looking for an apartment to purchase for his family. Mr. Horton, his wife, and their two children lived with his in-laws to save money for their first home while attending the MEHP home buyers’ classes. After receiving a down payment grant through HPD’s HomeFirst program and other financial support through MEHP, the Horton family was able to close on a Bronx co-op on September 15, 2006.
“New York City’s municipal workers serve as the City’s backbone and are critical to our success. That is why the Bloomberg Administration is committed to increasing affordable housing for this important workforce. Through joint initiatives like MEHP, Mayor Bloomberg’s ten-year $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace plan is creating innovative programs to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. “I want to thank DC 37 and NHS for fostering this unprecedented partnership with the City, and Amalgamated Bank for their support of the program.”
“This historic program, which began with a letter from me to Mayor Bloomberg, has helped unlock the door to affordable housing for DC 37 members,” said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. “We have accomplished a great deal in only one year. As we go forward, we will unlock even more doors to affordable housing as residency is expanded to include nearby counties. This program makes sure our dedicated, hard-working members who do so much for this city can fulfill their dreams of home ownership. It also helps them hold onto their homes at a time when foreclosures are on the rise in poor and working class communities, especially communities of color.”
“NHS is proud to be the counseling agency partnering with DC37. We at NHS strongly believe that education is key to creating and securing wealth through homeownership. We look forward to many more years of continuing our relationships with DC37 and our banking partners in this program,” said NHS Chief Executive Officer Sarah Gerecke.
MEHP was made possible in part through funding provided by Amalgamated Bank.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.
DC 37 is the city’s largest public employee union with 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees.
Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)
For over 20 years, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), a trusted not-for-profit organization, has provided New Yorkers with the affordable loans and housing education they need to buy, improve and keep their homes. NHS’ nine offices partner with corporations and government to help more than 16,000 people each year. In its efforts to build strong communities, NHS is led by local residents and guided by local needs. For more information visit www.nhsnyc.org.
Amalgamated Bank is headquartered in New York City. It was established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America primarily to meet the banking needs of low income working men and women – needs that were then not being adequately met by the existing commercial banks. Since its opening some 82 years ago, the Bank’s main office has been located at Union Square in Manhattan. The Bank currently has nine branches located in New York City, as well as three additional branches located in each of New Jersey, Washington D.C. and southern California. Our tenth NYC branch will open in Long Island City, Queens in early 2007 as the lead bank for a designated banking development district. To this day, the Bank’s primary customer base consists of low and moderate income persons, small businesses and labor organizations. The Bank is owned today by UNITE HERE, the labor union formed in 2004 by the merger of UNITE (the clothing, textile and needle trades union) and HERE (the hotel and restaurant employees union), along with a number of UNITE HERE locals and joint boards. The Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank chartered under New Yor