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No answer from DC yet on Jones-Walker housing crisis

Posted at 11:52 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 23:52:52-04

Ft. Myers Mayor Randy Henderson says he’s working with the federal government to correct problems with the Jones-Walker public housing complex in Ft. Myers.

"The primary objective is the health, safety and dignity of our residents who reside at Jones-Walker."

The complex, located on Blount Street in Ft. Myers, houses mostly low income residents on government assistance.

4-In-Your-Corner reported on mold, roaches and rodent infestations at the apartment, as well as at Sunrise Towers, another low income housing complex.

“On Tuesday, Senator Rubio met with Fort Myers Mayor Henderson to discuss the poor living conditions at the Jones Walker and Sunrise Towers apartment complexes,” said Rubio’s spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas.

“The Senator is exploring ways to ensure there is a thorough investigation into the owners of the properties. He and his staff continue to work closely with HUD to secure safe and sanitary housing for all Florida tenants of HUD properties.”

The mayor says it's too early to say if residents can use housing vouchers elsewhere while improvements are being made.  He chalks it up the paperwork that goes along with federally subsidized housing.

"It requires some procedural, administrative methods to make sure HUD remains lawful in their process."  "So its not something that just happens overnight."

The mayor also blames the problems with these housing projects on delays in getting contractors on site to fix them, and damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

But he's not letting the owners of Jones-Walker off the hook.  They get federal tax dollars with the expectation to keep the conditions decent.  

'It's been too little, too late I'm not happy about that, the council isn't happy about that."  I think we now have their attention."

Mayor Henderson says the owners of Jones-Walker have to pay a fine each day the violations are left uncorrected.