After having won a landmark legal ruling for non-profit affordable housing developers involved in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments across the country, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC), a local non-profit developer, has assumed ownership of Aswan Village Apartments and is renaming the complex to honor a longtime community advocate and leader, Mary Alice Brown.
Mary Alice Brown has lived in the north Miami-Dade area for more than 70 years. Her love of community advocacy began when she worked on Bill Lehman’s political campaign for U.S. Congress. She was a founding member of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation’s Board of Directors more than 40 years ago and held leadership positions such as Board Chair and Secretary for nearly three decades. She also served on the Board of Front Porch, was a PTA President at North Dade Middle School for five years and worked on numerous initiatives that support families and senior citizens. Mary Alice Brown is a proud and devoted matriarch of her family, which includes six children, 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. She was married for 58 years to her husband, the late Frank Brown Jr, who served as the first Black Recreation Director for the City of Opa-locka. She continues to be active in her community and church, Holy Temple Missionary Baptist Church, to this day.
“For more than 50 years, Mary Alice Brown has served this community with grace and perseverance. As a stalwart board member of the OLCDC her leadership and advocacy have proved invaluable contributions to the fabric of our work, and we could not have come this far without her. Through our work, we are committed to ensuring her legacy is honored by our continued improvements to make this a great place to live for its residents and families,” said Willie Logan, OLCDC Founder/ Chief Executive Officer.
The newly named Mary Alice Brown Apartments is a 216-unit gated community that serves a population of over 700 people in Opa-locka. OLCDC’s ownership of the property means the complex is now locally owned and by a company with 40+ years of experience serving under-resourced communities with supportive services and affordable housing. Since purchasing the property OLCDC has made needed improvements, including cleaning and beautification, updating units and installing a new computer lab. Additionally, OLCDC provides free onsite wraparound services to residents inclusive of care coordination and social service referrals, financial literacy, free after-school programming, residential social activities, mental health services and assistance with basic needs.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my work in such a special way that will touch so many people. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a monumental and significant recognition. It has been my great pleasure to serve the North Dade Community to make it stronger, and a better place to live, work and play,” said Mary Alice Brown.
In 2021, Aswan Village Apartments was the subject of a historic legal decision to preserve the housing needs of low-to-moderate-income families. The landmark ruling recognized OLCDC’s right of first refusal to purchase the property under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code, which establishes the LIHTC program. The nonprofit had been at odds with HallKeen Management over ownership rights since 2019 when the private investor attempted to sell the property to another real estate management company without recognizing OLCDC’s right to buy it. OLCDC was successful in purchasing the property in September 2021.
“This groundbreaking legal ruling is a victory for low-to-moderate income families, and community organizations like ours that are dedicated to serving underserved communities,” said Nashid Sabir, Chairman, OLCDC Board of Directors. “As real estate prices skyrocket, keeping affordable housing “affordable” and in the hands of non-profits will help preserve affordable housing and sustain families.”
In its 40-year history, OLCDC has built and rehabilitated more than 200 affordable single-family homes and 2,500 affordable multi-family units in Miami-Dade County. With reports ranking Greater Miami as the seventh least affordable major metropolitan area in the United States, the preservation of existing affordable developments such as Mary Alice Brown Apartments is crucial.
Mary Alice Brown Apartments comprised of fourteen three-story, walk-up garden-style buildings set on nearly nine acres supporting a clubhouse with free WIFI for residents, a fitness center, library, children’s playground and BBQ/picnic area.
For more information, please visit www.olcdc.org.
Media contact: La’Queasha Beard, firstname.lastname@example.org, 305-687-3545
About The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation
The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) was established in 1980 to address the housing and unemployment conditions in the Opa-locka and North Dade County, Florida, communities. Its mission is to build a strong ecosystem that supports under-resourced communities in creating an equitable and sustainable economy. For more information about OLCDC, please visit www.olcdc.org.