Jacksonville’s subsidized housing is back in the news for all the wrong reasons, and a congressman representing the area urges the mayor to take action to help the suffering residents.
US representative Al Lawson pressed Jacksonville Mayor Lenny curry Corrective Action Regarding the Misery at Mountain village. Among the problems: various pest problems, mold problems and garbage that are scattered all over the property.
“It is unacceptable that young mothers who live in the units and work to raise healthy children are forced to put their food in airtight containers so that pathogenic rodents cannot interfere with their child’s development,” Lawson said. “I urge the City of Jacksonville to move these vulnerable residents to safe and clean temporary housing while the city and (the Department of Housing and Development) address this dire situation.”
We turned to the curry spokesman Nikki Kimbleton for a comment, and that may or may not be pending. But the city has been following the issue and taking action to raise awareness of issues.
The city has been dispatching code inspectors in the past few days for news of system problems after receiving just four complaints this fiscal year and eight last year from the sprawling complex, which spans over 200 units.
The inspectors knocked on 166 doors this week and only one inspected unit was found to be free of violations. Citations have been earned for 58 and owners have 30 days to correct them. In the meantime, 104 tenants have either not opened the door or refused entry for inspection.
Lawson’s urging follows a strongly worded letter from the US Senator. Marco Rubiopressing the HUD secretary Marcia Fudge on the conditions in the complex.
“It is unacceptable that the residents of the Hilltop Village Apartments were obliged to live in these conditions, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents shouldn’t have to wait almost six years between safety and hygiene checks to ensure adequate living conditions, ”urged Rubio.
“I call for immediate action to ensure constituents are guaranteed the safe and hygienic living conditions that are legally allowed for them. This must include an immediate REAC inspection to update the property’s inspection result, as well as remedial action to ensure that the rodent infestation is resolved quickly and completely. I also call for a management and occupancy review to be carried out and for any penalties on property or management for non-compliance to be enforced, ”added Rubio.
The Senator’s concern about Jacksonville public housing has a historic precedent. In 2016, Rubio launched a campaign against the Global Ministries Foundation, which owned properties in Jacksonville, Orlando and elsewhere that were in dire need of renovation.
Republicans and Democrats descended on GMF lots in 2016, particularly the troubled Eureka Gardens on Jacksonville’s west side, now called Valencia Way. Ultimately, GMF sold to new owners who have provided capital for the long-needed renovation work on the property.