Liberty Institute: Houston Housing Authority Calls Off Eminent Domain Proceedings Against African-American Church

After a three-month legal battle, the Houston Housing Authority voluntarily dismissed its eminent domain proceedings against a historic church in Houston's Fifth Ward

Nov 02, 2015, 14:40 ET from Liberty Institute

HOUSTON, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Houston Housing Authority (HHA) has officially discontinued its eminent domain proceedings against the Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church, a historic, African-American church in Houston's Fifth Ward.

Eighty-three-year-old Bishop Roy Lee Kossie, who is celebrating his 60th pastoral anniversary this year, says, "We are overjoyed that we can now continue to minister to the Fifth Ward without fear of losing our property. This is where the Lord called Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church to serve and this is where we can now stay."

Aaron Streett, Liberty Institute volunteer attorney and partner at the law firm of Baker Botts LLP, says, "We applaud the Housing Authority for making the right decision and respecting the right of this church to continue its ministry in the Fifth Ward. Churches are vital to our communities and government should never threaten to push churches off their own property."

Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute, says, "Our clients are thrilled that they can continue ministering in the same community where they have been for 60 years without the heavy hand of government threatening to seize their property."

The HHA's announcement ends a three-month legal battle that began when Liberty Institute, along with lead volunteer attorneys Aaron Streett, Sam Burk, Shane Pennington, and Jonathan Havens from the Houston-based law firm of Baker Botts, filed a lawsuit under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TX RFRA) against the HHA to prevent it from taking the property of two historic churches in the City's Fifth Ward.

Read more about this case:  

Case Background
After repeated unsuccessful attempts to purchase the churches' land, the HHA notified two Fifth Ward churches that it could use its power of eminent domain to condemn the Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and take the property of the Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church if they refused to sell their church property.

Liberty Institute's volunteer attorneys from Baker Botts filed a lawsuit under the TX RFRA against the HHA on August 4, 2015. A court entered a temporary restraining order against the HHA and soon after, the agency agreed that it would not condemn the property of Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, but said that they still intended to take the property of Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church. The announcement that the HHA will no longer use eminent domain against Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church means both churches are free to continue their ministry to the Fifth Ward community.

Read more about these churches and the history of their involvement in Houston's Fifth Ward:  

About Liberty Institute 
Liberty Institute is the largest nonprofit legal organization in the nation dedicated solely to defending religious liberty in America. Liberty Institute defends religious freedom for all.

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