"Rats and roaches wouldn't even live like this;" City to help Roosevelt Garden tenants relocate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of families are about to be forced out of their homes and no one is taking responsibility.

Action News Jax first broke the story on Tuesday, when we learned HUD is terminating its housing assistance program at Roosevelt Garden Apartments.

PREVIOUS STORY: HUD terminating Section 8 funding at Roosevelt Garden Apartments

Action News Jax Courtney Cole went back out to the complex Wednesday to get answers about where these families will go.

The Jacksonville Housing Authority and the complex management say it’s not their problem.

READ: Letter from HUD to Mayor Lenny Curry on Roosevelt Garden

A spokesperson for the mayor told Action News Jax the city wants to help.

If you need help re-locating, email: news@actionnewsjax.com and we will make sure your information gets to the right person.

We’re now learning tenants who are being forced out of their Section 8 housing will be: protected, have relocation assistance and vouchers.

The Public Affairs Specialist for HUD told Action News Jax, “They can choose housing that passes inspection where the landlord agrees to receive Section 8 vouchers as part of their payment and the tenant pays the rest.”


That’s what the Department of Housing and Urban Development told Action News Jax in an e-mail we received Wednesday evening.

Action News Jax also learned meetings are planned to give tenants information about this process.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole is working to get those details from HUD, because all tenants are not aware of them.

“We have no idea what side of town we're going to move on, we have no idea what type of school our kids are going to go to," said a mother of three. She has lived at Roosevelt Garden Apartments for three years.

She asked us to conceal her identity, out of fear of retaliation from the property manager.

According to documents we obtained, this mother and many others who live in the 200 plus unit complex—have to find somewhere else to live.

In a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry, HUD said it’s "moving forward with the relocation of tenants and termination of Section 8 Housing Assistance."

In the letter, HUD asked the City to participate in the relocation process.

Wednesday, the city sent its response, saying it won't be making a recommendation for another property and added  "JHA is the appropriate agency."

"All I know, is in the beginning of April, there was a letter put on the door, there was a letter put on the door saying that this was an unsafe, unfit, unsanitary environment for someone to live in and we have to move."

Action News Jax Courtney Cole emailed and called PF Holdings Management, the company that owns the property. But Cole hasn’t heard back.

We also got our hands on the inspection reports for Roosevelt Garden Apartments.

Inspectors tagged the Section 8 housing complex for 75 health and safety deficiencies in February, and admit they could have found 600 more.

Families Cole spoke with Wednesday said all the health and safety issues inspectors found, are still there.

"Rats and roaches wouldn't even live like this!"

This mother of three told me she never expected to live in conditions like this.

"And most of the plumbing situations out here, it'll get so bad, that if your neighbor flushes the toilet, their feces, or whatever, goes down their toilet will come out of your kitchen sink."

A federal housing inspection report from February 20 of this year breaks down the problems in 24 units that were inspected.

“When you wash dishes, water is coming out of the sink—out the bottom of the pipe. It's just hard living out here.”

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And in all of the units, the smoke detectors were either not working or missing.

"Me and children have gone without a fridge, a refrigerator for nine months.”

The inspection report also detail issues like damaged roofs, broken stoves, broken locks, roach infestation and even lead.

“Bad leaks, plumbing problems, electricity, mold on your walls—they'll tell you to wipe it with bleach.”

When Cole asked people if they reported these problems, the mother of three said:

“People are terrified for their lives to even say anything to complain. Nothing has been done.”

After we broke the news that neighbors here would have to be relocated, FOP Lodge 530 sent out a tweet, saying they're concerned for the safety of the tenants here, too.

Also, the police union believes the management company could be doing more to keep tenants safe like hiring security.

According to JSO crime map, in the last four weeks alone, there have been 166 incidents within one mile of Roosevelt Garden Apartments.