Representative Work

DBPC + Inclusive Communities Project

Representative work done by Daniel & Beshara, P.C. for the Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

Some of the work done by Daniel & Beshara, P.C. on behalf of the Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. is described below. This work furthers the mission of the Walker Housing Fund Charitable Trust and ICP. 

The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.    

The Walker Project, Inc. (WPI) was established in 1990 pursuant to the Consent Decree in the Walker v. HUD housing desegregation litigation to promote fair housing and provide support to Walker class members, Black or African American public housing and voucher participants in DHA’s programs. WPI operated in that capacity through the Spring of 2001. After several years of inactivity, the newly constituted Board of Directors of WPI changed the name of the 13-year-old non-profit, and committed to revitalize its activity in the area of civil rights, fair housing, and inclusive, non-discriminatory community development. As of April 28, 2004, the Walker Project became the Inclusive Communities Project (ICP).

ICP engages in educational, research, and advocacy activities that promote and support the policies underlying the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, 42 USC 3601, et. seq. and related civil rights laws. These policies include the creation and maintenance of stable, racially, ethnically and economically integrated communities, expansion of fair and affordable housing opportunities for low income families, and seeking redress for policies and practices that perpetuate the effects of racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation.  http://inclusivecommunities.net/about.php

Housing Choice Voucher desegregation effort against HUD. 
    
In ICP v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2009 WL 3122610 (N.D. Tex 2009) and 2009 WL 3446232 (N.D. Tex. 2009), ICP challenged HUD’s use of rent data from a 12 county area to set a single fair market rent for the Housing Choice Voucher program. These fair market rents set the amount of subsidy that will be paid to the landlord on behalf of the voucher family. HUD had long used the rents in the low income minority concentrated areas to set the rents for the entire multi-county region. This made most of the units in those low income minority concentrated areas available for vouchers while severely limiting the availability of units in the predominantly White, high opportunity areas.

ICP settled the case when HUD agreed to use Zip Codes as the geographic basis for fair market rents in the Dallas area.  The FY 2011 Zip Code fair market rents were the first Zip Code fair market rents adopted by HUD pursuant to the settlement. These fair market rents allowed hundreds of HCV participants to locate in majority White Zip Codes. According to an independent study, the 2011 Zip Code fair market rents had the following results:
 
After this intervention, [the ICP settlement] voucher recipients in Dallas chose neighborhoods with substantially lower violent crime rates and lower poverty rates, and the net cost of the intervention was zero. Collinson, Robert A. and Ganong, Peter, Incidence and Price Discrimination: Evidence from Housing Vouchers (June 9, 2013). Available here

The complaint and the amended complaint, the judicial decision denying HUD’s motion to dismiss, the settlement, and the objections to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 SAFMRs are identified or linked below.

●  Complaint and amended complaint

    ICP HUD complaint
    ICP HUD amended complaint

● Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 3446232, N.D. Tex., October 26, 2009(No. 3-07-CV-0945-O.) Opinion granting motion for leave to file amended complaint despite HUD's objections.

● Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 3122610, N.D. Tex., September 29, 2009 (No. 3:07-CV-0945-O.) Order adopting the included U.S. Magistrate Judge’s recommendation to deny HUD’s motion to dismiss the affirmatively further fair housing claim and to grant the motion to deny the National Housing Act based claim.

● Settlement and required Federal Register notice

Signed Settlement Agreement and Letter
Small Area FMR Demonstration Notice Federal Register Version

After 2011, HUD reverted to the same pattern of overpaying in minority areas and underpaying in White areas that marked the previous FMR setting process. On behalf of ICP, Daniel & Beshara, P.C. filed objections to the subsequent reversal of the 2011 maximum rental rates in the 2012 through 2014 SAFMRS.

● Objection to proposed 2012 SAFMRs

2011 Comment on 2012 SAFMRs 1
2011 Comment on 2012 SAFMRs 2

● Objection to proposed 2013 SAFMRS
    
2012 Comment on 2013 SAFMRs cover letter   
2012 Comment on 2013 SAFMRs

● Objection to proposed 2014 SAFMRS

2013 Comment on 2014 SAFMRs Cover letter
2013 Comment on 2014 SAFMRs

DBPC filed a new lawsuit for ICP challenging HUD’s administration of the SAFMR process in the Dallas area from 2012 through 2014. The complaint was filed on April 22, 2014.

● April 22, 2014 complaint in The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. District Court of Texas, Northern District, Dallas Division, 3:14-cv-01465-L.

This case settled when HUD agreed to issue and follow a Guidance in which HUD agreed to increase SAFMRs shown to make less than 40% of units in a Zip Code available. See the SAFMR Education page.

ICP v. TDHCA
 

See ICP v TDHCA page.


City of McKinney and McKinney Housing Authority’s refusal to participate in ICP’s local political subdivision tax credit development program.     
        
ICP developed its local political subdivision tax credit development program to encourage the use of low income housing tax credits to provide desegregated housing opportunities for its clients and other voucher families. Two of the local entities ICP asked to participate in the program were the City of McKinney and the McKinney Housing Authority. Both refused. Litigation ensued. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. City of McKinney, Tex., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 2590121, E.D. Tex., August 18, 2009 (No. 4:08-CV-434.). Complaint. The City and Housing Authority’s motions to dismiss were denied. Opinion and Order adopting the included U.S. Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to deny the defendants' motions to dismiss. Opinion deny motion to dismiss MHA City.
    
The settlement with the McKinney Housing Authority required it to provide local political subdivision contribution loans for up to 400 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units. ICP can provide at least $1,000,000 for these loans and has the option to provide additional funds to obtain the maximum 400 units required if the funds are made available. The City was dismissed from the case. The consent decree was subsequently amended to provide for the use of 4% tax credits. Consent DecreeModified Consent Decree

One application sponsored by ICP and the McKinney Housing Authority received a tax credit allocation in TDHCA’s 2013 9% tax credit allocation cycle. This 164 unit tax credit development Millenium-McKinney will be on the higher income, predominantly White west side of McKinney. 

The City of McKinney recently passed a resolution supporting another low income housing tax credit project on the west side of McKinney. The consent decree between ICP and the McKinney Housing Authority was cited as the reason for the approval. Pages from 020414 Agenda Packet Millenium 2.

Flower Mound    
                
ICP asked the Town of Flower Mound to participate in the ICP local political subdivision tax credit development program to encourage the use of low income housing tax credits to provide desegregated housing opportunities for its clients and other voucher families. The Town refused. Litigation ensued. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Town of Flower Mound, Tex., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 2591176, E.D. Tex., August 18, 2009 (No. 4:08-CV-433.); Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Town of Flower Mound, Tex., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 2145909, E.D. Tex., July 15, 2009 (No. 4:08-CV-433.) U.S. Magistrate Judge's recommendation to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss. Opinion and Order adopting the U.S. Magistrate Judge's recommendation to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss. After a bench trial the Court ruled that ICP had failed to prove that the Town’s refusal to participate in the grant program was due to purposeful discrimination.

City of Frisco

ICP approached the City of Frisco with an offer to loan the city money from the Walker Housing Fund Charitable Trust to assist in the development of low income housing tax credit units in the City. These units would benefit ICP’s clients and other low income families. The City originally refused to even discuss the matter. Daniel & Beshara, P.C. represented ICP in subsequent negotiations with the City of Frisco. The Frisco City Manager credits the litigation brought by ICP against McKinney and Flower Mound for the City’s change of position.

“If Frisco had not negotiated the agreement with ICP, then the likely outcome would have been a federal lawsuit filed against Frisco by ICP as it did against both McKinney and Flower Mound,” said George Purefoy, City Manager. “After 14 months of litigation, the McKinney Housing Authority is negotiating a settlement agreement with ICP which establishes the same general parameters as the Frisco agreement, except it includes a longer term agreement (5 years vs. 3 years) and it pays some of ICP’s attorneys’ fees.” Proposed_Low_Income_ Section 8 Frisco, page 2.

An agreement was signed.  The City of Frisco endorsed an application for low income housing tax credits. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, while in litigation with ICP, issued the tax credits. This 130 unit low income housing tax credit complex, North Court Villas, was opened in 2013 and is currently housing low income tenants including ICP’s clients and other families using housing vouchers. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/frisco/headlines/20131115-grand-opening-held-for-affordable-housing-complex-in-frisco.ece .

Walker

ICP’s actions providing access to desegregated housing opportunities for Black or African American housing choice voucher holders help implement the public housing and voucher program desegregation remedy in Walker v U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 3:85-CV-1210-O (N.D. Tex.). 

ICP v. Town of Sunnyvale

The Town’s racially exclusionary zoning practices were held to violate the civil rights laws in Dews v. Town of Sunnyvale, 109 F.Supp.2d 526 (N.D. Tex. 2000). ICP as the successor plaintiff in the case entered into an agreed remedial settlement order with the Town in 2004. final judgment. The Town made no effort to produce the low income units required by the settlement. ICP purchased land and sought zoning for multifamily housing in order to provide the units. The Town denied ICP’s request for the rezoning and continued to violate the Settlement. The District Court granted ICP’s motion to enforce the settlement and held the Town in contempt of court on March 22, 2010. order finding contempt After further proceedings, the District Court extended the Town’s deadline to have a tax credit project approved until August 14, 2013. order extending time.

As part of the proceedings, Daniel and Beshara, P.C. filed a new ICP lawsuit based on the claim because the Town unilaterally imposed a discretionary, very low density form of zoning on ICP’s land. The lawsuit stated the Town violated the Fair Housing Act by preventing the development of affordable housing on ICP’s land by the rezoning. complaint.

While this second suit was pending, the Town recruited a low income housing tax credit developer for a different site on the south side of the Town. The Town rezoned this site twice in order to allow the LIHTC developer to receive an award of housing tax credits. The tax credits were awarded and the development of the 96 units of low income affordable rental housing in Sunnyvale is proceeding. Based on this progress, ICP dismissed the second lawsuit. If the development is built and accepts housing choice vouchers, the Town will satisfy the settlement and the contempt remedy order. 26 years after the litigation was filed, there will be 96 units of low income housing in the Town of Sunnyvale. The Town has resisted this result for many years.  D Magazine Article - Sunnyvale: The Whitest Town in North Texas.
 


DBPC’s investigative/research/GIS team produced data analysis and presentation for ICP on a wide variety of subjects.

DBPC’s investigative/research/GIS team produces the data analysis and presentations for use in connection with the ICP litigation and other advocacy by DBPC. The team also produced data analysis and presentations for ICP in other contexts. The following are some examples of this work:

Carolina Planning published “Community Revitalization, Civil Rights, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program” in its 2013 Volume 38. The article by Elizabeth K. Julian, ICP’s President, used national low income housing tax credit data and U.S. census data to raise questions about the efficacy of low income housing tax credit units as a revitalizing tool in highly distressed census tracts. Abigail Self and Katy Lopez of DBPC provided the underlying census and LIHTC data, tables, and map used in the article. Carolina Planning - Community Revitalization, Civil Rights, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Elizabeth K. Julian.

Two works on this website were prepared by Ms. Lopez and Ms. Self and set out the lack of neighborhood revitalization solely from just placing low income housing tax credit units in areas of slum and blight. Racial Segregation, Community Revitalization and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Units in the City of Dallas, Texas; Hatcher Square.

Ms. Self did the analysis, maps and tables in the Mobility Works ICP publication. The analysis indicates that Black HCV holders who receive some type of mobility assistance live in higher quality neighborhood with more opportunity, less distress, and less crime. Households that receive multiple types of mobility assistance live in better conditions than households with less mobility assistance. The more mobility assistance a Black household receives, the better the conditions are in the neighborhoods to which they move.