Is Apartment Complex Too Dangerous?

Jacksonville Councilman Wants To Bar Public Subsidizes From Eureka Gardens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One City Council member claims that that a Westside apartment complex is so dangerous, the government should no longer subsidize residents to live there.

Even those who have never been to Eureka Garden Apartments have probably heard of it because it is so often in the news. According to city records, there were 12 murders at the complex over the past five years. The number of shootings, stabbings and assaults there over the same time period are in the hundreds.

"When the sun goes down, you go in your house," resident Emily Faucett told Channel 4's Jim Piggott on Friday.

Faucett, her husband and four children live at Eureka Gardens and know it is dangerous at night. One week ago, three people were shot during an armed robbery -- one by police responding to the shooting.

Councilman Warren Jones has introduced a resolution asking the U.S. Department of Housing to stop issuing rent assistance -- called Section 8 vouchers -- for people to live at Eureka Gardens "until such time as the apartment owner and management take substantial proactive steps to secure the safety of the apartment complex."

Video:Read The Proposal:Resolution 2011-190

The city specifically mentioned it would like to see fences and security guards at the complex.

The request to limit Section 8 assistance would only affect new residents, allowing those already living in the complex to stay.

Faucett and other residents said limiting housing money will not fix the violence problem.

"They don't need to stop it," she said. "Police do patrol, and they do stop, and they do try their hardest. But it is just here. That is how it is here."

Other said it doesn't have to be that way, and they don't want any part of it.

"I need to get out of here," said Vontricia Woody. "I need to be able to go and not walk though the security gate. I need to be able to go."

Eureka Gardens' management told Piggott they were not aware of the pending resolution and cannot comment.

The resolution was just introduced and it would take weeks to be approved. It also is also non-binding, meaning the federal government would have to make the decision to restrict vouchers from a particular apartment complex.