SAFE AND Affordable Housing
inspecting eureka gardens
Senator Rubio has a long history of fighting to keep low-income housing tenants safe and hold slumlords accountable.
In 2016, Rubio raised concerns about Eureka Garden Apartments, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) complex in Jacksonville. Visiting the apartment complex to investigate reports of mismanagement, he found hazardous and inhumane living conditions. Rubio was outraged and began to push for legislative and managerial changes. The Senate went on to pass three of Rubio’s amendments to improve HUD’s housing project oversight, and Eureka Gardens was sold to a new, superior managing company.
CALLING OUT SLUMLORDS
Since 2016, Rubio has publicly challenged slumlords across the state. In 2018, he investigated Jones Walker Apartments in Fort Myers and Glorieta Gardens in Opa-locka. In 2021, he blasted Andrew Podray, the owner of Eastside Terrace Apartments in Jacksonville, for being a slumlord on taxpayer dollars. In 2021, Rubio also took aim at Cambridge Management for failing Real Estate Assessment Center scores at seven properties. And in August 2023, he reported an active gas leak at Jacksonville’s Monaco Arms. Rubio will not rest until federal housing is safe, secure, and responsibly managed. His staff are on the ground, visiting complexes in person to assess and address shameful conditions.
PUSHING FOR legislation
Meanwhile, Rubio has introduced seven bills to keep low-income tenants safe, hold property owners accountable, and increase the affordable housing stock. These include the Home Advantage for American Families Act, which would reduce suspicious foreign investment in American real estate; the HUD Inspection Reform and Capital Improvement Act, which would require HUD health inspections to proceed at a reasonable schedule; and the Keep Children and Families Safe from Lead Hazards Act, which would direct HUD to eliminate lead hazards in affordable housing projects.
MAKING HOMES AFFORDABLE
Finally, Rubio wants to make it easier for teachers and first responders — who sacrifice so much to strengthen and protect our communities — to buy homes in the areas they serve. His HELPER Act would eliminate down payment and monthly mortgage requirements in a one-time-use home loan program exclusive to people from these professions. Where and how Americans live are important, which is why Rubio cares so much about housing. Referring to the Eureka Gardens investigation, a local pastor told the Washington Examiner, “Not only was his mind in [his work] — but his heart was also in it.” It still is.