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Georgetown Law Harrison Institute Instrumental in Revitalizing Affordable Housing Building

January 20, 2015 —

Over the last two and a half years, Georgetown University Law Center students and faculty have played an instrumental role in the revitalization of the Sierra Cooperative, an affordable housing building in the Eckington neighborhood of Washington, D.C.  In part, due to their efforts, the building, which is located at 307 S Street, NE, will celebrate its grand opening at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 22. 

“The project at the Sierra is a great example of the important work that lawyers can do in low-income communities,” said Professor Michael Diamond, director of the Harrison Institute for Housing & Community Development clinic. “We especially commend the heroic efforts of the residents who fought to keep their home, despite the many obstacles in their path.”

When the Harrison Institute became legal counsel and development consultant for the building, the residents were found to be living in deplorable conditions, and only four of the 20 units were occupied. This high vacancy rate resulted in a tax delinquency, and a tax sale was scheduled. 

The Institute was initially tasked with staving off the tax sale. After successfully obtaining a dismissal, the Institute assembled a financial package for renovating the building that was accepted by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Department of Housing and Community Development. The Institute also helped the residents to obtain an architect and contractor to implement the renovations of the building. 

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