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City requests housing vouchers for Jones Walker apartment residents

Posted at 9:59 PM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 22:58:28-04

People living in the Jones Walker apartments on Blount Street in Fort Myers are holding out a little hope. The complex has been plagued with mold and cockroaches, and City Council agreed the conditions they were living in are inhumane.

Ebony Lee has lived there for 10 years and said she's been living with roaches, softened walls from leaks, and mold. 

In June, Code Enforcement said it would fine the owner of the complex $2,500 a day because of the conditions. She said since then, she's seen a few changes.

"They threw down mulch," Lee said. "They fixed the stairways that were kind of cracking and stuff."

But Lee and her neighbors said the problems inside their units are still there. One man's bath tub won't drain. The moldy water inside is now infested with roaches and other bugs. Her other neighbor's electric panel is filled with mold and his ceiling is bubbling up from leaks.

"Hell on Earth," Lee said

On Tuesday, Fort Myers City Council asked the City Manager to request 80 housing vouchers -- one for each unit -- from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The vouchers help low income families, elderly, and disabled afford safe, sanitary housing.

"I'm happy and scared at the same, time because a lot of realtors and landlords do not accept Section 8," Lee said.

This means it's Lee's responsibility to find housing that will accept the vouchers.

"I've been up all night just trying to search and be ahead, and try to find a place so when I do receive my voucher, I will have a place for me and my children to stay," Lee said.

She said workers with HUD were inspecting apartments at Jones Walker earlier today. She said she saw them inside two units, but they never came in to hers.