With A Housing Crisis, Philly Labor Unions Help Members Buy Homes

Philly workers are getting help from their labor unions in this tough housing market.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

“Latisha Thompson and Paul Prescod are big fans of labor unions and the benefits and protections they’ve won for workers. So much so that they got engaged Labor Day Weekend a couple years ago and plan to get married this Labor Day Weekend.

So when they decided to buy their first home, they looked to Thompson’s union for help.

Last year was a big one in the Philadelphia region for labor activity, including the formation of new unions. To sell members on the value of a union card, the organizations not only advocate for higher wages and defend workers on the chopping block, they also offer benefits that touch on other aspects of workers’ lives.

That includes helping members with the biggest purchase of their lives. And as home ownership has gotten less affordable in recent years, home buying help through unions has gained momentum.

Staring down elevated mortgage interest rates and high home prices this fall, ‘I was honestly looking for just any route of relief,’ said Thompson, 32, who works at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical center in West Philadelphia.

Through Thompson’s membership in the American Federation of Government Employees, she and Prescod got paired with a real estate agent and a lender, who gave them ‘incredible’ service and got them down payment assistance and an exclusive loan with no private mortgage insurance.

They closed on their three-bedroom, 1½-bathroom home in Fern Rock on Dec. 15. The couple got the home after a previous buyer had to pull out because of problems financing the purchase.

‘I really couldn’t have gotten this far without the benefits of my union,’ Thompson said.

Daniel P. Bauder, president of the AFL-CIO’s Philadelphia Council, which comprises more than 100 local labor unions, said local unions have been offering home buying help for a while. But ‘I think it’s becoming more popular, and I think it’s also becoming better known,’ he said.

‘It’s a wonderful thing that the unions are doing, and it’s making a real impact in the lives of their members,’ Bauder said. ‘Unions are so much more than grievances and wages and benefits.'”

For the rest of the story, visit The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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