The Eugene and Carol Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development Provides Aid in New Haven and Beyond

The Eugene and Carol Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development at Yale Law School continued its advocacy and legal advising for community banks, community organizations, food advocates, and other entities in 2014–2015. Below is a recap of the different activities the Ludwig Center engaged in during the academic year.

Banking and Financial Inclusion

The Ludwig Center resumed its work with Start Community Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), for which Sathya Henderson ’15, Anosh Zaghi ’16, and Helen Diagama ’17 conducted focus group studies on banking needs of the reentry, youth, homeless, low-wage earner, and immigrant populations. Diagama and Joseph Jampel ’17 assisted Community Capital New York, another CDFI, with its implementation of consumer lending programs by researching federal and state law related to consumer credit and advised it about the steps to take to achieve compliance.

For the Connecticut Mental Health Center Foundation, Reuven Garrett ’15 researched and reported on establishing supervised savings accounts for clients. In this program, the Foundation would provide a match incentive for consistent savings as well as financial education. Clinic students outlined a savings model that addressed the complex regulations around such a practice.

Community Development and Economic Opportunity

Through a range of projects, the Ludwig Center is studying the importance of sustainable economic development in improving the lives of residents of low- and moderate-income communities. In one project, the Clinic students represented St. Luke’s Development Corporation in connection with a redevelopment project on Whalley Avenue and assisted it in securing land use approvals and site control. Jaunita John ’16 counseled the Greater Dwight Development Corporation during an IRS audit and assisted the corporation in filing its amended articles of incorporation with the state.

Abdi Aidid ’16 and Dennis Zeveloff ’17 drafted loan extension agreements and contracts for home day care providers and worked to end evictions of licensed daycare providers for the client All Our Kin. For the New Haven Investment Fund, the Ludwig Center assisted in financing the construction of a local charter school committed to promoting environmental learning leadership and reorganizing a large community grocery store that employs many New Haven residents.

Community-Based Organizations

Zeveloff, Noah Kazis ’15, Alex Taubes ’15, and D’Andre Carr, a student at Yale School of Management, developed a report for Fair Share Housing Center, New Jersey’s leading fair housing organization, outlining how HUD has assessed Analyses of Impediments to fair housing in the past. New Jersey is obligated to prepare an Analysis of Impediments as part of a settlement related to Hurricane Sandy recovery funds. Students presented their preliminary findings to a national meeting of advocates in Washington, DC in April.

Joe Nawrocki ’15 and Aidid helped Connecticut Main Street Center, a Hartford-based nonprofit, to advocate for a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) statute in Connecticut. The students prepared a report analyzing the success other jurisdictions have had using TIF and identifying the shortcomings of existing Connecticut TIF statutes. The Ludwig Center presented findings at a statewide workshop in Hartford, helped draft new TIF legislation, and testified in support of that legislation before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee.

Sustainable Food Policy

The Ludwig Center continues to work with several clients at the intersection of food policy, public health, and economic development. For CitySeed, Graham Downey ’16, Lauren Salamon ’15, and FES student Michael Meehan ’16 researched the laws and regulatory process surrounding the sale of alcoholic beverages at farmers’ markets and counseled on the feasibility and efficacy of passing a cottage food law. The Ludwig Center also took on a new farmers’ market client based in Washington, DC. For that client, Downey, Meehan, and Bob Baker ’16 investigated financing options and other models for a new distribution network involving small farmers and institutions purchasing produce in bulk.

The Ludwig Center works on a wide range of community and economic development activities by engaging in policy advocacy, offering transactional legal services and providing interdisciplinary consulting services to a range of actors on the local, state and national levels, under the leadership of Clinical Associate Professor Anika Singh Lemar. With an interdisciplinary team of core and affiliated faculty and students from across the Yale University community, the Ludwig Center’s efforts are focused on community banking and financial inclusion, community development and economic opportunity, serving community-based organizations, and sustainable food policy. The Ludwig Center emphasizes non-adversarial, transactional approaches to tackle some of the most intractable problems facing low- and moderate-income communities across the nation. It acts as legal counsel for business entities and nonprofit organizations, such as community development corporations, social entrepreneurs, and community development financial institutions. It also works with national organizations and coalitions, as well as statewide groups, through the provision of policy research support, strategic consulting, legislative advocacy, and legal services.