A building owned by the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless organization may lose tax-exempt status, according to DeKalb County Chief Tax Appraiser Calvin Hicks.
The property, a house located off of East Lake Drive, was originally granted tax-exempt status as a place of worship and according to Hicks, has not paid property taxes since approximately 2004.
However, Hicks said that during a recent audit, the DeKalb County Board of Assessors found that the property was not being used as a place of worship; therefore the tax exemption was revoked. Hicks said he was unsure of the amount of back taxes the property owed.
According to Hicks, the building, appraised at $549,700, is owned by the Martin Luther King Jr. Peoples Church of Love. Hicks pointed out that the Hosea Feed the Hungry organization was not at risk of losing its tax-exempt status, only the property was.
“We’ve taken no action against the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless organization. The property at East Lake Drive is owned by Martin Luther King Jr. Peoples Church of Love…now I understand that there is some relationship between those two entities,” Hicks said.
Hicks said that the property was at one point the residence of Hosea Williams and the Martin Luther King Jr. Peoples Church of Love was begun by Williams and others.
“At that time the organization was to create a Baptist church but they went back and changed the church to a non-profit,” Hicks said.
Also, Hicks said there were two separate organizations running out of the property–the MLK Jr. Peoples Church of Love and Hosea Feed the Hungry.
In a prepared statement, Elizabeth Omilami, president and CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry, said that she had not received any word from tax assessors indicating their plan to revoke the organization’s tax exempt status.
“We trust DeKalb County Chief Appraiser Calvin Hicks will be able to work with us to maintain our exemption or qualify for a different one, so that as many of our dollars as possible can be used to fulfill our important mission,” Omilami said.
Omilami was contacted for comment but did not return calls by deadline.
Hicks said that the property owner has a 45-day window to contest the board of assessor’s decision and that they have until mid-September to file an appeal.