Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HUD: Fix Eureka in 30 Days or Else; Complex Owner Told Federal Funding at Risk If Problems Not Addressed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HUD: Fix Eureka in 30 Days or Else; Complex Owner Told Federal Funding at Risk If Problems Not Addressed

Article excerpt

Byline: Sebastian Kitchen

Federal housing leaders told residents of the deteriorating Eureka Garden housing complex the owner must correct hundreds of violations, some life threatening, in 30 days or the apartments could lose federal funding.

Regional leaders with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday they expect Global Ministries Foundation of Tennessee to correct violations affecting life and safety to be addressed by next week and others to be corrected in 30 days.

The immediate concerns are deteriorating stairs patched with tape, windows difficult to open, lack of carbon monoxide detectors and gas leaks. Other needs include mold and mildew elimination, roofing, electrical and plumbing repairs.

HUD regional administrator Ed Jennings and regional director Ruben Brooks said the federal agency was slow to respond, but is taking concerns seriously and "we're here now."

They said HUD rarely inspects all units at a complex, especially ones with 400 units such as Eureka Garden, but HUD inspected all 400 units and will send a report to Global Ministries next week.

More than 60 residents filled a small meeting room at the complex Thursday to hear from the HUD administrators.

Several residents, some frustrated, crying and raising concerns about their children, complained about the mold and mildew affecting their health and about their treatment by management, including maintenance workers coming into their apartments unannounced.

They talked about pipes with sewage leaking into their apartments.

"I walk in sewage. ... They don't care," one tenant said.

Another talked about mildew growing in her apartment despite her wiping down her unit with bleach.

Several tenants talked of living in fear because of shootings.

Brooks apologized to residents for the conditions they have endured.

Jennings said safety is the first priority.

He said apartment management must submit a plan and timeline to address the repairs, including stairs. HUD officials will meet with apartment ownership weekly.

"If they don't, we're going to hold them accountable," Jennings said of improvements. …

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