The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation just won a landmark decision in the fight to preserve affordable, locally-owned housing - and we want you to be among the first to hear about it.
In OPA-LOCKA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, INC. v. HK ASWAN LLC. et al., the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County reaffirmed our rights as a non-profit participating in the Low-Income Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The court found that the defendants - who are Boston based - breached their contract when they tried to sell our affordable housing development to a New York-based firm without our involvement or permission.
This decision has strong consequences for non-profit housing advocates working within the LIHTC program. The court’s opinion clearly defends our non-profit right of first refusal available to us under the LIHTC program, while refusing to accept the defendant’s purposeful misinterpretation of its trigger. It emphasizes the importance of affordable housing, and the intent of the LIHTC program policy objective to preserve it. In fact, the court decides resoundingly in our favor on every issue before it. Click here to view the press release for more information about the case.
At a time when private investors use their wealth, resources, and sophistication to take advantage of non-profits, we are happy to have this decision in our arsenal. The LIHTC program was developed with the explicit purpose of preserving housing for low-to-moderate income communities; and as non-profit housing advocates, we need to use it. We must reverse the national “Aggregators” trend, in which a few primary private investors are working hard to force market-rate sales of affordable properties to increase their own profit at the expense of our affordable housing communities.
That’s why we are calling on our non-profit partners to (1) help us spread the word about this landmark case, and (2) create more awareness of this growing national trend. Our case is one of five similar cases that we are aware of in the last two years, and some of these cases are still on-going. This growing national trend was the subject of an important report, issued by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (“WSHFC”) in September of last year. Additionally, this Aggregators trend is not only threatening the continued non-profit ownership of affordable housing in the LIHTC industry, but it is also threatening other developer participants in the program who have built thousands of units of affordable housing across the country. We are aware of more than 100 affordable housing properties that have been impacted by litigation and other disputes in approximately 20 states over the last several years, and there is undoubtedly more. Click here to view the WSHFC Report.
Right now, the U.S. has a shortage of seven million rental homes affordable and available to extremely low-income renters, whose household incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (National Low Income Housing Coalition). The fight to preserve affordable housing will only be won if we stand up together.
Dr. Willie Logan
CEO & President, Opa-locka Community Development Corporation