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New Orleans moves to revoke Willows Apartment tax-exempt status over housing violations

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE)—The City of New Orleans is preparing to revoke Global Ministries Foundation’s tax-exempt status due to multiple housing code violations. The religious non-profit owns the Willows Apartment Complex.

This decision comes after a series of Fox 8 Defenders’ reports highlighted residents’ substandard living conditions, leading to a significant change in state legislation.

On July 11, the city’s Code Enforcement Department head will present a detailed report to city council members, outlining numerous new violations at the New Orleans East property.

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These violations include broken air conditioning units, malfunctioning toilets, missing siding and windows, lack of hot water, unsanitary conditions, and water damage. The Code Enforcement Department can recommend the revocation of the non-profit’s tax-exempt status based on these sustained violations.

Global Ministries Foundation, also known as Ministry Outreach Foundation and based in Tennessee, now faces thousands of dollars in fines for these infractions.

A series of stories starting in 2022 revealed the plight of the Willows’ residents, showcasing their deplorable conditions.

State Representative Jason Hughes and City Councilwoman Helena Moreno spearheaded efforts to amend the state constitution, enabling local governments to impose taxes on non-profits if their housing posed a health or safety risk.

However, there had to have been violations in the preceding 12 months for the new law to be applied.

Despite the change in legislation, initial enforcement was stalled. Earlier this year, it was revealed that code enforcement had not cited either the Willows or another property owned by the non-profit, Parc Fontaine, for any violations in 2023. This oversight meant the new law could not be utilized immediately.

“I’ll say this, I was totally shocked, I actually thought there was an error in the report,” said Moreno

In February, Code Enforcement identified 11 violations at the Willows, with four additional violations found in April.

Following the report presentation on Thursday (July 11), the department head will appear before the council in a few weeks to present the evidence. The council will then vote on whether to revoke Willows’ tax-exempt status.

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