New bill could mean real change for Eureka Gardens residents

Bill would penalize property owners who repeatedly fail surveys

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new bill filed by Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio Wednesday would have a direct impact on residents at Eureka Gardens.

Florida Senators filed legislation that would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey tenants, twice a year, about property conditions and management performance. The new laws would also penalize property owners who repeatedly fail the surveys

The bill is moving on to Senate Committees for consideration.

People who live at Eureka Gardens say they're just happy their voices are finally being heard.

"Now this is what happens when you speak up,” President of the Tenant Association Tracy Grant said. “This is what happens when you realize you do have a voice.”

Grant said in order for change to happen, the residents of Eureka Gardens need to continue to speak up.

"Say something and let them know how you feel,” Grant said. “Let them know your issues."

Grant said she believes the bill will work.

"For those who aren't able to speak out, they'll feel free now to speak out,” Grant said. “If I have to be that voice to say 'do something,' then I will be."

The concerns at Eureka Gardens include mold, gas leaks and structural problems. Grant understands it will take some time for all of the issues to be addressed

"We may not all be here when the change comes,” Grant said. “I know they're going to have to renovate the apartments.”

Grant said she’s looking forward to the future in hopes that this new bill will get approved and prevent the problems at Eureka Gardens from happening to other low-income housing complexes across the state.

Eureka Gardens may soon have a new owner. A pending sale for eleven of Global Ministry Foundation properties in several states are in the works with a Boston-based nonprofit.

Click here to read the proposed bill.