Opa-Locka

OLCDC Local Court Win Is A Victory For Affordable Housing Communities Nationwide

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Florida Court rules in favor of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program’s Right of First Refusal provision

 

(Opa-locka, FL) – On July 7, 2020, the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County ruled to preserve the housing needs of low- to moderate- income families in one of South Florida's most historic yet distressed cities, Opa-locka. In Case No. 2019-CA-016913, the plaintiff, Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC), asked the court to recognize its non-profit right of first refusal to purchase the property in its partnership with the defendant, HK Aswan, LLC et al., (Halkeen), to ensure Aswan Village Apartments in Opa-locka remains affordable and locally owned.

The court ruled unequivocally in favor of OLCDC on every issue before it. In a case with broad implications for non-profit affordable housing developers across the nation, the court’s summary judgment ruling confirmed that under Section 42 of the United States Code, which establishes the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, a non-profit’s right of first refusal to purchase an affordable housing development in which it has participated under the program is not conditioned upon the receipt of any third-party offer to purchase the development. Instead, the court confirmed that all that is necessary under Section 42 to trigger a LIHTC right of first refusal is for the owner of the development to manifest an intent or willingness to sell the development. And, because the contract giving OLCDC its Section 42 right of first refusal contained no other conditions, it was not necessary for the owner to have received and entered into an enforceable purchase agreement before OLCDC’s right of first refusal was triggered and enforceable.

Dr. Willie Logan
Dr. Willie Logan

“Our mission has always been to revive the existing community without giving into gentrification,” says Dr. Willie F. Logan who founded OLCDC in 1980 when he was mayor of Opa-locka - later he was elected a Florida state representative. He continues to serve as president and chief executive officer of the non-profit organization which has built and rehabilitated more than 200 affordable single-family homes and 2,500 units of affordable multi-family housing in Opa-locka and the northern part of Miami-Dade County. “We are pleased with today’s summary judgment ruling which preserves Aswan Village as affordable housing stock in the community,” adds Dr. Logan.

Under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which was established to increase the supply of affordable housing by incentivizing private investors to partner with non-profit developers like the OLCDC, non-profits who participate have a statutory right to purchase the property at the lowest price at the end of the term of the investor’s investment, which is a fifteen-year compliance period. The goal is to keep the value within the property, not to remove it upon the end of the investment term so the property remains affordable for renters.

In this case, OLCDC asserted that Halkeen sought to prevent OLCDC from ever exercising its right of first refusal and initiated unilateral actions to sell Aswan Village Apartments for fair market value, all in contravention of the parties’ contracts and applicable law, and to take more than $5.5 million of equity in the property rather than preserve it for the betterment of the property, its residents, and the community. The court soundly rejected Halkeen’s efforts and ordered it to specifically perform under the right of refusal, meaning that it must transfer the affordable housing development to OLCDC for the below-market sale price prescribed by Congress in Section 42. As a result of the court’s decision, all that remains in the case are a few pending motions and a soon to be scheduled jury trial on damages, pursuant to which OLCDC will be seeking damages in excess of $1 million.

Opa-locka’s case reflects a troubling national trend threatening the long-term viability of low-income housing projects. Rising values in certain markets have created an opportunity for private firms aggregating investor interests in LIHTC partnerships to profit far beyond the original investors’ expectations. By systematically disputing transfers to non-profits they can sell the property at a higher price than originally anticipated in the partnership agreement and undermine the goals of the LIHTC program.

Low-income families, single parents and seniors have lived in Aswan Village, for the past 16 years. It is a 216-unit affordable housing development for residents whose household income is between 30% and 60% of Miami-Dade Area Median Income. In Opa-locka, the poverty rate is 47.15 percent, affordable housing is essential.

The LIHTC program has generated millions of housing units nationwide since its inception in 1986, far more than any other federal program. But, housing needs have significantly outpaced supply, and a variety of economic and social factors have contributed to a growing affordable housing crisis throughout the country. In Florida, the LIHTC program is administered by the Florida Housing Finance Coalition.

OLCDC is determined to change the tide on this troublesome trend, ensuring the longevity of affordable housing inventory by helping to diminish ambiguities in the statute. This victory sets a precedence for related affordable housing partnership agreement litigation to be resolved in favor of nonprofit ownership and low-income housing, which was the intention of the LIHTC program.

OLCDC calls for public action to counter the tactics of aggregator firms. “We need to protect our low-income communities nationally by supporting organizations fighting the battle on every level,” says Dr. Logan. “We must keep our affordable housing affordable and locally owned.”

 

 

 


Dr. Steve Gallon’s Fourth Annual Black History Showcase pays homage to HBCUs and the Divine Nine

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Brilliance, creativity, and talent were on full display at Miami Carol City Senior High, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as District 1 School Board Member and School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III held his 4th Annual District 1 Black History Showcase. This year’s show entitled “D1 Chella” celebrated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) also known as the Divine Nine. Performances included dance,  step, chorus, spoken word, drama, jazz band, and  drumline.

 

The event master of ceremonies was District 1 and Andover Middle School’s 8th grader Ramaria St. Hilaire. Schools represented in this year's showcase included: Golden Glades Elementary, North Dade Center for Modern Languages, Parkview Elementary, Rainbow Park Elementary, Scott Lake Elementary, Norland Middle School, Carol City Middle School, North Miami Senior High, Miami Norland Senior High, Jan Mann Educational Center, and Miami Carol City Senior High. There was also a special performance by Ricky Danco, a Haitian American dance company.

 

Event partner was City of Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson. More than 500 were in attendance and included Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Councilman David Williams Jr., Councilman Reggie Leon, Trayvon Martin Foundation executive director Sybrina Fulton, North Region Superintendent Jose Bueno, UTD Vice President Antonio White, and North Region administrators and school staff.

 

A special visual presentation was featured reflecting on the past and highlighting the present status of HBCUs and the Divine Nine. The showcase received a long and resounding standing ovation and continuous praise by everyone as the audience exited the auditorium.

 

“Once again, our community has been able to serve witness to the artistic beauty and brilliance of our students, as well as the power that the arts plays in their education and empowerment,” said Dr. Gallon. “The night also provided an opportunity for us to reflect, recognize, and celebrate the educational journey of Blacks in higher education and the powerful role and influence that Black fraternities and sororities have played in binding us in power and purpose. The night’s performances also provided us with a challenge. How do we top this?”

 

To view highlights from the show, visit:

https://youtu.be/M9HVmXPlfDI

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Local Kwanzaa Celebration Marks Thirty Years

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The week long Pan-African holiday known as Kwanzaa was first observed in 1966 in California.  This year marks the 30th consecutive year of the local celebration hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association. Recognizing the uplifting and community-building potential of it’s core values or seven principles, Dr. Freddie G. Young initiated the push to celebrate Kwanzaa. Event chair Vanessa Woodard Byers recalls the meager beginnings of the celebration being held in the living room of Dr. Young’s condominium with the kinara and other symbols being sketched on poster board by her brother, Harlan Woodard. Their mother, Mary Williams Woodard chaired the presentation of the event for many years. Since it was a labor of love for her, the organization’s members chose to name the event in her honor after she transitioned in 2010.

In keeping with the spirit of Kwanzaa, the free event grew from a FAMU alumni association event to a true community celebration in collaboration with other organizations and international artists. The event grew from private homes to public facilities with attendance as large as 500 the year Tavis Smiley was the featured speaker. Byers would like to see the event garner enough support to present a countywide coordinated event each day of the week as the holiday was designed. In the meantime, an invitation is extended to this year’s milestone celebration with a challenge to everyone to make Kwanzaa a lifestyle.

If You go:

30th ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION. This joyous celebration of family, friends and community is the largest and longest-running local public celebration of the Nguzo Saba (Principles of Kwanzaa) in the Miami area. 

MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

3:00pm - 6:00pm

City of Opa-locka Municipal Complex

780 Fisherman Street

2nd Floor

Opa-locka, FL 33054

 

Hosted by City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. of Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor in partnership with the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe's Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy. 

The event is FREE. Register at KwanzaaMiami30.eventbrite.com. Remember that Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political, family-friendly holiday. Enjoy the Soul Food Feast (Potluck donations are welcome.), music, dancing and celebrating with friends.

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated. This year’s donated books and educational toys will benefit the Children’s Unit of New Horizons Mental Health Center, Inc.

If you have any questions, email Vanessa Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343-9088. Thank you. HARAMBEE!


Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III vie for District 1 County Commission seat

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Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, broke local social media with the announcement of her run for the District 1 commission seat for Miami-Dade County (FL). She also garnered national attention from many media outlets as well as support from award-winning actress and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg from The View. Fulton’s decision disrupted plans of term-limited Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and his supporters. Gilbert was perceived as a shoo-in for the seat held by Barbara Jordan for the last 16 years. Jordan is ineligible to run again as term-limits kick in for the first group of county commissioners.

Fulton, a former long-time county employee, gained international notoriety because of the fatal shooting of her younger son, Trayvon. Since that horrible incident, she has become a community advocate, author, public speaker, executive producer, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and received an honorary doctorate degree. Although this is Fulton’s first run for elected public office, she checks all the boxes that are most essential regarding electability criteria --- name recognition and likeability.

During his tenure as mayor, Gilbert has been faced with law enforcement, sexual harassment and personal controversies but he is also credited with the business growth of the City of Miami Gardens and the return of the historic Orange Blossom Classic football game. It is also noteworthy that Gilbert has amassed more than $400,000 between his campaign account and political committee. While he faces a formidable opponent in Sybrina Fulton, Gilbert is not likely to shrink into the background. This race will be a battle until the end. 

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Unfortunately, there are already signs that this race will likely be very negative. In social media exchanges, supporters of both candidates are trying to have the last word in a situation that will be decided by the voters of District 1 in August 2020. The public discourse is expected. Politics is a contact sport and Miami politics can be particularly dirty. Stay tuned; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 


Longest-running local community Kwanzaa Celebration continues at The ARC in Opa-locka [VIDEO]

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The Spirit of Kwanzaa lives in Miami-Dade County. On Saturday, December 29, 2018, it was demonstrated at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center) in the beautiful City of Opa-locka, Florida. The 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration evolved into a true community event welcomed by various groups and entities beyond its local beginnings. 

More than 150 people were in attendance as the traditional procession of the Council of Community Elders was announced via drummer Jah Will B. Elders are not recognized because of age but due to their contributions to the community. Many are often unsung heroes. This year’s elders included Chief Nathaniel B. Styles Jr. who also served as event MC; HRH Iya Orite Adefunmi; School Board Member Dorothy Bendross Mindingall; Bernadette Cecelia Poitier; Rubye Howard; Thomasina Turner-Diggs; Eric Pettus; “Broadway” Cuthbert Harewood; James Wright; Amare and Amani Amari; Netcher Hopi Mose and Angela Berry.

Because of construction at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, where the event has been presented for many years, its consecutive presentation would have been interrupted were it not for Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis; Nakeisha Williams and the Opa-Locka CDC; and Nakia Bowling of Zoe’s Dolls. 

As is customary, the Nguzo Saba, Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and symbols of Kwanzaa were explained with the assistance of audience members and the Ivy Rosettes of Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority who also served as hostesses. Tracey Jackson delivered the welcome on behalf of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association. Remembering those who have transitioned is an important aspect of Kwanzaa. Dr. Natasha C. Stubbs delivered a moving recognition of local and national individuals who became deceased since last year’s Kwanzaa event. Entertainment was provided by the Next Generation Dance Academy and poets Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns and realproperlike. New World School of the Arts junior, Nicholaus Gelin, serenaded attendees with his trumpet during the feast portion of the evening.

“We enjoyed the event,” said a mother who traveled from Coral Springs with her son and his best friend to attend the celebration. They said they will attend next year and the boys want to participate on the program. 

The Kwanzaa Celebration is hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur and Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture; and Osun’s Village African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor.

 



 

 

 

 

 


The Second Day of Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia

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Greeting: Habari gani!

Response: Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-AH)! 

Today is the second day of Kwanzaa. The principle we celebrate is Kujichagulia which means Self-Determination. To define ourselves, to name ourselves, speak for ourselves and create for ourselves.

Kujichagulia is a commitment to building our lives in our own images and interests. If we, as a people, are to achieve our goals we must take the responsibility for that achievement. Self-determination is the essence of freedom. This day calls for a reaffirmation of our commitment to work together for Black people everywhere, particularly here in America, to build more meaningful and fulfilling lives. 

Harambee!

 

Related Link:

Celebrate Kwanzaa in Miami


Longest Running Local Public Kwanzaa Celebration Moves to The ARC in Opa-locka on 12/29/18

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Miami, FL December 23, 2018: For almost three decades the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association has celebrated the seven-day Pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa. This year, due to renovations at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and the absence of many members traveling to witness the University’s famous marching band participate in the Rose Bowl and surrounding activities, it seemed the event would not take place. 

When one of the organization’s community partners found out the celebration was going on hiatus this year, the true Spirit of Kwanzaa took over and plans were quickly changed. On Saturday, December 29, at 3 pm, the 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration will take place at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center), 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054,

“We are deeply appreciative that Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe’s Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy reached out to help. Their support lets us know our teaching the Principles of Kwanzaa at this celebration through the years, has not been in vain,” said Vanessa Woodard Byers, event chair, and daughter of the late Mary Williams Woodard, educator and Kwanzaa advocate for whom this celebration is named. 

Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political community-building and family-strengthening holiday. The community is invited to come out and learn more about it. There will be music, dance, poetry and other artistic demonstrations. One of the highlights of the event is the distribution of dolls by young philanthropist, speaker, and business executive, Zoe Terry. Through her company, Zoe’s Dolls, dolls are given to little black and brown girls as a vehicle for building self-esteem and pride in their self-image. 

The event is free but register online at KwanzaaMiami29.eventbrite.com. Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys, for children in the local community, are appreciated. Potluck food donations for the Feast are also welcome. It is hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. of Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor in partnership with the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe's Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy.

For more information, email Vanessa Woodard Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343- 9088. Event updates are available on Facebook at Celebrate Kwanzaa in Miami and on Twitter at @KwanzaaMiami. 

HARAMBEE!

Here's video of last year's event courtesy of LaShannon of PrPlMiami.

 

 


Opa-locka CDC offers workshops for first-time homebuyers

The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) is offering workshops for first-time homebuyers. These sessions are designed to guide first-time homebuyers step by step through the home buying process. Homebuyers will be provided one-on-one counseling with an OLCDC certified Housing Counselor. Hear from industry professionals on the 7 steps to becoming a homeowner. 

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2018 WORKSHOP DATES
 
English
  • Jan 27
  • Feb 24
  • March 24
  • April 28
  • May 19
  • June 23
  • July 28
  • Aug 25
  • Sep 29
  • Oct 27
  • Nov 17
  • Dec 8
 
Spanish
  • Jan 13
  • Feb 10
  • March 10
  • April 14
  • May 12
  • June 9
  • July 14
  • Aug 11
  • Sep 15
  • Oct 13
  • Nov 3
  • Dec 1
 
Time: 9AM - 5PM
Location: Opa-locka Train Station
Address: 490 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054

Click here to sign up!


A Community Conversation on Education

Opa-locka town hall on education

If you are really concerned about public education (and you should be), push away from your computer, put your cell phone done, and participate in this community conversation on education.  Opa-Locka Vice Mayor Joseph Kelley and Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III invite you to come out, 6 pm, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Sherbondy Village Auditorium, 215 Perviz Avenue, Opa-Locka, FL 33054. Get informed! Get involved! No excuses!

 

 

 


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson Secures $400,000 EPA Revitalization Grant for the City of Opa-Locka

 

Funding to Support the Assessment and Cleanup of Contaminated Sites


Miami, FL — On Friday, May 29, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) announced that the City of Opa-Locka will receive revitalization grants totaling $400,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Opa-Locka is one of nine communities in Florida to receive a portion of more than $3.9 million in Brownfield grants. This investment will provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean, and redevelop contaminated sites, which will boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.

With Opa Locka’s public health, infrastructure, and economic challenges in mind, Congresswoman Wilson passionately urged the EPA to award these grants to the City of Opa-Locka.

Congresswoman Wilson released the following statement:

“As the Congresswoman for Opa-Locka, I am very happy with today’s announcement. Public health and safety, and economic prosperity are among my top priorities in Congress. The EPA’s Brownfield grants will provide the City of Opa-Locka with vital funds for infrastructure and capital improvement projects that will improve the quality of life for residents, promote competitiveness in attracting private sector investment, and help create jobs,” said Congresswoman Wilson.