Roofs collapse at Eureka Gardens

Tenants say 1 unit's roof fell on pregnant woman, her children

By Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - People living at the Eureka Gardens subsidized housing complex on Jacksonville's Westside are upset after they said roofs collapsed in several units -- one on a pregnant woman and her children. 

More than two years ago, I-TEAM began reporting on safety and health concerns about the property, which is home to about 400 families. 

Since then, a new owner has taken over. But residents contacted the I-TEAM on Thursday after the latest incident and said they feel problems are still being brushed aside since new management came on at the beginning of the year.

Eureka Gardens Tenant Association President Tracy Grant, who first alerted the I-TEAM to the deplorable conditions at the complex and who has since testified to a Senate subcommittee, said Thursday that several residents went to management a few weeks ago, complaining about how the recent rain caused some of the roofs to leak. 

But a few days ago, residents said, those roofs gave in, collapsing in three apartments, and one roof even collapsed on a pregnant woman and her children.

"Most of them are just letting them fix the roof and they're still in the apartment," Grant said. "Most of them actually don't have the money to say, 'OK. I can pick up right now and I can leave and go."

Holes and leaky ceiling can be seen in photos sent to the I-TEAM. 

"If there's a smell, they have to live with that smell," Grant said. "They have to live with the fact that I look up and water can still come from (above)."

Grant said management is fixing the roofs now, but she said it’s frustrating that it waited until the units were unlivable to make repairs.  

"If I have to until the day I die, I will be here on the ground and I promise you they will not like me because I'm going to make sure that they're not going to walk over the residents out here," Grant said.

According to Grant, the new owner has plans to remodel the units beginning in March. She said after everything they’ve been through the last several years, she’s hoping management starts to act on issues faster. 

On Friday, officials with the management company, The Millennia Group, told the I-TEAM they have only been notified about one roof collapsing in a unit with a pregnant woman and her children. 

Officials said management was not told about any active leaks prior to the roof collapsing. They said since there has been a contractor shortage throughout the state, it’s been difficult finding workers to fix the issues. 

But they said a contractor has been working all week to fix the woman’s collapsed roof.

Officials said management is staying on top of the situation, and they they are working towards remodeling the units sometime next year. 

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