Apartment complex fixes elevator that caused problems for disabled woman

Sara Graves said she was forced to call fire department for assistance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The elevator at an Arlington apartment complex has been fixed after multiple calls from a resident in a wheelchair, who had problems getting downstairs.

Sara Graves, who has been in a wheelchair since she was young, said she called Friday to report the broken elevator at the Wynnfield Lakes Apartments. The I-TEAM learned from a community manager that the elevator was fixed Monday afternoon, a day after Graves first spoke to News4Jax.

Graves said she was forced to call the fire department for assistance and even attempted to get down the stairs by herself in order to get to work.

According to Graves, in the month she’s lived at Wynnfield Lakes Apartments, the elevator has been out of service four times.

“I want to cry, because I don’t want to be in this situation anymore,” Graves said.

PREVIOUS STORY: Broken elevator causing problems for disabled woman at apartment complex

Graves told News4Jax the apartment assured her the elevator was reliable, and in the event of any issues, maintenance workers would be available 24/7. But Graves said since reporting the latest issue, she called maintenance workers nearly a dozen times without any resolution to the elevator issues.

“It’s just, like, well, what do I do now? I really don’t have an option,” Graves said. “I mean, this weekend I came up with options but they weren’t necessarily ideal. Scooting down the stairs isn’t going to be comfortable forever.”

Management told News4Jax on Monday, “The technician was out this morning and the elevator is up and running.”

Graves said management is working with her to possibly transfer her to a first-floor apartment in light of the issues with the elevator.

Suzanne Garrow, a Jacksonville Area Legal Aid staff attorney, told News4Jax their fair housing unit investigates approximately 400 complaints a year, although not all the complaints are similar to Graves' accessibility issue.

“Many private housing complexes are covered by the Fair Housing Act and in some instances the ADA. There is also a local human rights ordinance in Jacksonville. Locally, the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are the government agencies who enforce the fair housing laws,” Garrow said.

“This is something that is happening to other people,” Graves said.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.