Eureka Gardens owner says HUD deadline met

Federal government said repairs had to be completed by Thursday


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owners of the troubled Eureka Gardens apartment complex said Thursday that they have met a federal deadline for making repairs to the subsidized Westside complex, although they added that there is still work to be done.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said that the Rev. Richard Hamlet’s company, Global Ministries Foundation, had to have completed and reported all repairs to Eureka Gardens by Thursday.

GMF was hit with a long list of mandatory repairs at the Westside property from both city code enforcement and HUD after News4Jax first exposed the squalor at Eureka Gardens in September.

Crumbling staircases, leaking air conditioning units, mold and mildew were just some of the issues tenants said they were living with.

Exposed electrical wires were scattered throughout the grounds, which also had problems with gas and carbon monoxide leaks.

Hamlet issued a statement Thursday, saying that GMF had submitted all the necessary paperwork to HUD.

“With the exception of the few remaining items we are correcting for the city and two work-in-progress projects involving completion of external stairway repairs and improvements and final steps to complete air quality remediation work where necessary, we have addressed each of HUD’s requirements,” Hamlet said in the statement.

Hamlet also thanked Eureka Gardens residents and the tenant association, which first brought the complex's deplorable living conditions to the attention of News4Jax, for their patience.

“When areas for improvement arise at Eureka Gardens, we take responsibility and ensure the necessary resources are allocated to get the work done as soon as possible,” Hamlet wrote. “Working in partnership with HUD and our residents, our management team works diligently each day to make sure all Eureka Gardens apartments, common areas, building, grounds and systems are in compliance with local, state and federal standards and regulations.”

Hamlet said the management at the complex will host monthly coffee gatherings, beginning in March, for residents at the community center “to provide regular opportunities to exchange information about exciting developments, share ideas and collaborate on solutions for issues and concerns.

Eureka Gardens' troubled history

Channel 4's investigative reports led to a citywide code enforcement sweep spearheaded by Mayor Lenny Curry in October.

It also led to HUD invalidating its own inspection score, which officials admitted is extremely rare.

That original inspection in August gave the property a passing score of an 85, but it was tossed out, and the repair list was issued after the complex was re-inspected.

HUD said agents will be back to inspect Eureka Gardens in the coming days to verify if all repairs have been made and if the fixes are acceptable.

News4Jax is also tracking the reports of lead contamination reported in some children at Eureka.

HUD said it has received complaints that up to three children could be impacted, including a 4-year-old.

HUD said it is working with the city of Jacksonville to determine if the lead contamination came from paint or possibly the water or pipes or somewhere else.

Global Ministries receives $6 million in taxpayer money every year to run Eureka Gardens, according to the organization's HUD contract, which expires in March.

It’s up to HUD to decide if it will renew with GMF, which also runs five other properties in Jacksonville.

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