I just got a call this morning from another tenant in a HUD affordable building that a large developer would like to control and tear down. These calls trickle in.
If you think predatory lending is bad, wait until you hear stories of arson, poisonings, break-ins, physical attacks and stalking designed to get tenants and homeowners to leave their homes. Billion dollar development companies could simply pay people to leave. However, that would leave a clear record of what was happening. The average tenant and homeowner don’t understand how the money and economic warfare game works in the situation. So, terror is more effective and much more profitable. As a former Assistant Secretary of Housing, I find the lure of gentrification profits to be one of the most significant sources of terrorist funding globally.
Here is what I advise.
First, you need to make your story and documentation accessible. There are very few reporters who can write about your story. The ones that might be interested need you to make your story easy to understand and to document, if not interesting and entertaining.
Here is an example of a site I created when my company was litigating with HUD:
Two, you need to understand the tactics that you are dealing with:
Third, you need to understand that predatory practices whereby powerful corporate and banking interests use illegal and unethical tactics to expropriate wealth from the middle class and poor are common and that the law may or may not be relevant. Some or all of the HUD field office, HUD inspector general, the police, your municipal and congressional representatives may or may not be in a position to help you.
Fourth, you are going to be much more successful if you can retain a good attorney who has experience in these types of HUD situations. Be careful to check references and historical performance as one way that attorneys make money is to work for you, while selling you out to the other team. You do not necessarily need them to represent you. You may be better off representing yourself and having them teach you as a consultant behind the scenes.
One of the most effective people I know who dealt with one of these situations in New York City, swears by John Fisher and his website: