July/August Volunteer Feature: Latham & Watkins LLP Real Estate Practice is Working to Preserve Affordable Housing in Upper Manhattan
In response to the real estate market's economic downturn and its consequences for low-income homeowners, Latham & Watkins LLP decided to expand the real estate practice's pro bono work. The firm's expertise became the perfect complement to the legal services being provided by The Legal Aid Society's Community Development Project's ("CDP") Adopt-A-Coop Pro Bono program. The new partnership was kicked off with a training, attended by more than 45 Latham attorneys, on "Creation and Preservation of Low-Income HDFC Housing Cooperatives" and presented by the CDP's knowledgeable staff - Stephen Falla-Riff and Rolando Gonzalez.
Under the leadership of Frederic Glassman, the firm's attorneys have been working on a variety of matters that will help create and maintain affordable housing in Upper Manhattan. Their review of construction loan re-financing documents for two low-income co-ops will help create 90 units of affordable housing and their assistance to an HDFC to develop a re-sale policy that complies with the law will add additional affordable units to the Harlem community. Latham's attorneys also plan to assist in drafting and negotiating commercial leases that will create viable commercial spaces vital to low income cooperatives paying off tax arrears and enabling them to maintain 49 affordable housing units in one building and 32 residential and 5 commercial units in another.
Latham & Watkins' pro bono work is making an immeasurable impact in a practice area underserved by pro bono counsel. The Legal Aid Society looks forward to the firm's continued and growing partnership to preserve affordable housing in New York City's poorest communities.