Public Employee Press
Municipal Employees Housing Program
1st anniversary for union housing program
has helped 1,100 members get housing and disbursed $20 million in mortgage loans.
From left: Donovan, DC 37s Henry Garrido, Ms. Roberts, NHS Dir. Sarah Gerecke,
Nikki and Gerald Horton and L.1482 Pres. Eileen Muller.
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Council 37 celebrated the one-year anniversary of its groundbreaking Municipal
Employees Housing Program with city Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan at
union headquarters Oct. 25.
We dared to dream outside the box
to help our members find affordable housing, said Executive Director Lillian
Roberts, who welcomed guests to DC 37s house. This program has far
exceeded our expectations. I am pleased so many of our members are using MEHP
to get a piece of the rock and achieve the American Dream of home ownership.
Roberts wrote Mayor Michael Bloomberg in January 2005 concerning the
affordable housing crisis and the residency requirements DC 37 members had to
meet to maintain employment.
Her letter sparked a series of meetings
with the mayor and commissioner from which MEHP developed.
its doors to DC 37 members as the first and most comprehensive housing initiative
in the nation that pairs labor, the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development
with Neighborhood Housing Services, a nonprofit organization, and the sponsor,
This program speaks volumes about New York City
after 9/11, that we are a vital city again and that millions of people flock here
to make New York City their home, said Donovan. The housing challenge is
not just for the citys low income families, he said, but also for middle-income
and working families to be able to stay in New York.
Shaun Donovan gives Gerald Horton a tool box for his new home.
MEHP opens doors
We have to help the workers who make this city run, Donavan said.
We have to keep the best and the brightest who work for the city in the
MEHP offers counseling, mortgages and a pot of gold,
down payment grants through FirstHome to qualified DC 37 members, who receive,
on average, about $20,000 in mortgage assistance. To date, around 1,100 DC 37
members have participated in some aspect of the program.
the best example of the city and labor working together, Donovan said. MEHP
has opened doors for DC 37 members and allowed them to dream bigger for themselves,
Roberts said. It helps members meet the challenge of finding decent and
affordable housing in one of the most expensive cities in the world.