Union staff pension fund first in Canada to invest in affordable housing

    OTTAWA, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The pension fund of the employees of
Canada's largest federal public service workers' union has invested $2 million
to help finance affordable housing initiatives in the National Capital Region,
marking the first such investment by a pension fund in the country.
    The employees and full-time elected officers of the Public Service
Alliance of Canada and many of its components have agreed to invest the sum to
establish the Alterna Community Alliance Housing Fund which was launched at
Ottawa City Hall today.
    "I am very happy to say that through the diligent and persistent efforts
of pension committee members working with community housing advocates and
finally in partnership with Alterna Bank, we have found the mechanism, a
housing fund in which we have invested $2 million," said PSAC National
President John Gordon.
    The $2 million has been invested at market interest rates with Alterna
Savings and designated specifically to fund affordable housing projects that
meet certain criteria. The Ottawa Community Loan Fund, a non-profit
organization that provides community-focused financing, will be responsible
for screening the projects to make sure they meet the following core criteria:

      - Housing will be affordable to those most in need of housing.
      - Housing will be affordable in the long term.
      - Housing will be constructed by unionized workers.

    Other preferred criteria include energy efficient housing and wheelchair

    Ottawa has been suffering from a shortage in affordable housing due to
low vacancy rates, rising rental costs and lower incomes that haven't kept up
with inflation. The waiting list for social housing in Ottawa stands at well
above 11,000.
    "We are committed to work with our community allies to support social
justice initiatives and we are delighted to be supporting the creation of
affordable housing in this community," Gordon said.

For further information:

For further information: Joselito Calugay, PSAC communications officer,
(613) 560-4235; Alain Cossette, PSAC communications officer, (613) 560-4317,
(613) 293-9210

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