JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Six months after an I-TEAM investigation first exposed a rodent infestation and other unsafe living conditions at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida’s governor is cutting off all state money to companies associated with the complex – penalizing them for failing to make fixes and allowing the problems to continue.
Hilltop Village is an affordable housing community, one of dozens of properties in Florida managed by Cambridge Management Inc. Since our first News4Jax investigation into Hilltop Village first aired in April, Sen. Marco Rubio has called on HUD multiple times to take action to ensure Cambridge Management took care of the issues tenants there have been facing.
Friday afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis said since HUD still hasn’t taken action, and the rodent infestation still exists at the Jacksonville apartment complex, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation is cutting off all financial assistance – like tax credits and loans – to all companies responsible for Hilltop Village. If pulling state money from the companies doesn’t result in fixes, DeSantis says Florida Housing will use compliance requirements to force a change in management.
“Despite recent statements by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that ‘The management agent has continued to work with the most critically affected tenants,’ in reality the persistent and deplorable conditions that dozens of Hilltop residents have endured is simply unacceptable,’” DeSantis said in a statement. “Our patience has run out for this developer and their management company’s failed stewardship of safe, decent and affordable housing for Floridians.”
“As a result of HUD’s persistent lack of oversight, tenants at Hilltop Village Apartments are still living in abhorrent conditions,” Rubio added. “Addressing constituent housing takes multiple levels, and I am thankful that Governor DeSantis is a partner in these efforts. I am committed to continuing to work together to ensure that the families at Hilltop Village Apartments are afforded the safe and decent living conditions that they deserve.”
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) said the agency has inspected Hilltop Village Apartments numerous times in the past year and has issued warnings for unsafe and unsanitary conditions found – but still the issues exist. DBPR Secretary Julie Brown says the agency is, “prepared and committed to support further enforcement action where needed to ensure the safety of this property and the wellbeing of its residents.”