June 2, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Camden, New Jersey, is probably not the first place investors would normally consider for financing a new, multi-million dollar building project, especially a state-of-the-art cancer center. The city had the highest crime rate in the United States in 2012 and one of the lowest high school graduation rates. Poverty is widespread there, and good paying jobs are rare.
Rather than seeing Camden’s social and economic challenges as potential obstacles, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) saw an opportunity to improve a community. Last fall, the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper opened its doors in a city known more for things going wrong than anything that has gone right. The investors behind the $58.8 million project hope it will put the city on a new path of economic renewal by creating jobs and spurring other investors to imagine what Camden can be.
This is part of a fiscally prudent plan led by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) and its subsidiary, Building America – to build medical facilities and health centers in poor, medically underserved communities around the country.