Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released an 8-minute mini-documentary highlighting his ongoing efforts to keep Florida’s low-income housing tenants safe and to hold slumlords accountable. The video tells the story of how Rubio spearheaded efforts to rehabilitate Valencia Way, formerly Eureka Gardens, after the property was run into the ground by slumlords at the Global Ministries Foundation. Valencia Way is a federally contracted housing complex under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program. The video also documents Rubio’s current efforts at Hilltop Village, Eastside Terrace, and Eastside Gardens, apartment complexes in Jacksonville, Florida.
In 2015, following tenant complaints of unsafe and unsanitary conditions and misuse of federal funds at Eureka Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, Rubio worked to cancel Global Ministries Foundation’s (GMF) contract with HUD and rehabilitate the property for the tenants.
Following a long fight with GMF, Eureka Gardens was sold to Millennia Housing Development, and has been rehabilitated and renamed Valencia Way.
In August, Rubio attended the grand opening of Valencia Way.
Additional background on Rubio’s efforts to hold the previous owner, Global Ministries Foundation, accountable:
- October 9, 2015 – In a letter, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry first informed Rubio and his staff about the conditions he had just seen at Eureka Gardens Apartments.
- October 16, 2015 – Rubio’s staff met with HUD officials in Jacksonville, called Eureka Gardens’ state “alarming.”
- January 21, 2016 – Rubio demanded action from HUD for Eureka Gardens residents after allegations of lead poisoning.
- April 27, 2016 – Rubio discussed the ongoing problems at Eureka Gardens with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Councilman Garrett Dennis.
- May 12, 2016 – A day before visiting, Rubio discussed problems at HUD’s Eureka Gardens in Jacksonville.
- May 13, 2016 – Rubio told slumlords at HUD Apartments in Jacksonville: “You Guys Are Disgusting.”
- May 13, 2016 – After shaming slumlords, Rubio called for criminal investigation.
- May 18, 2016 – Rubio spoke on the Senate floor blasting Global Ministries Foundation.
- May 19, 2016 – The Senate passed legislation that included three Rubio amendments to improve the U.S. Department of Urban Development’s oversight of public housing projects.
- May 24, 2016 – Rubio urged the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to open an investigation into Global Ministries Foundation.
- May 25, 2016 – Rubio met with Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo regarding the deplorable conditions of GMF’s Stonybrook apartment complex.
- June 6, 2016 – Rubio again called on DOJ to investigate GMF after touring an Orlando housing complex with Senator Bill Nelson.
- July 14, 2016 – Rubio and Nelson filed a bill to hold slumlords accountable for poor conditions.
- August 3, 2016 – Rubio commented on the federal raid of slumlords at Global Ministries Foundation, which he called for earlier in the year.
- August 11, 2016 – Rubio welcomed report that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Global Ministries Foundation.
- September 9, 2016 – Rubio surprised GMF slumlords and visited residents forced to live in deplorable conditions at Stonybrook Apartments.
- September 22, 2016 – Rubio testified at the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development’s hearing on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) inspections process. Ms. Tracy Grant, president of the Eureka Gardens Tenants’ Association in Jacksonville, also testified.
- April, 12, 2017 – Rubio visited Eureka Gardens apartments in Jacksonville with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.
- July 13, 2018 – Rubio and Nelson urged the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to immediately resolve unanswered maintenance requests for tenants of properties owned by Global Ministries Foundation.
- August 30, 2018 – Rubio and Nelson and Representatives Hastings, Frankel, Deutch and Mast sent a letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development requesting swift approval for any Section 8 Pass-Through Lease requests for a GMF-owned property to protect tenants from unsafe living conditions.
- November 1, 2018 – Rubio applauded the sale of the Eureka Gardens housing complex in Jacksonville, FL, from Global Ministries Foundation (GMF) to Millennia Housing Development.
- February 11, 2020 – Rubio praised Jacksonville, FL Mayor Lenny Curry, the city council, and the Millennia Companies for the rehabilitation of the complex.
- August 17, 2021 – Rubio attended the grand opening of Valencia Way.
Most recently, Rubio is fighting for safe and sanitary living conditions for residents at Hilltop Village, Eastside Terrace, and Eastside Gardens, apartment complexes in Jacksonville, Florida, which are also federally contracted under HUD’s Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program.
- December 16, 2021 – Rubio introduced the HUD Health and Safety Accountability Act to protect tenants.
- September 15, 2021 – Rubio introduced a bill to keep children and families safe from lead hazards.
- August 10, 2021 – Rubio demanded HUD address unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Hilltop Village Apartments and relocate affected residents.
- August 5, 2021 – Rubio urged HUD to debar slumlord Andrew Podray from federal housing programs.
- July 30, 2021 – Rubio introduced a bill to reform HUD’s inspection process and hold slumlords accountable.
- July 14, 2021 – Rubio blasted Jacksonville slumlord as “stomach-churning”.
- June 30, 2021 – Rubio requested HUD take immediate action at Cambridge Management properties in Florida.
- May 21, 2021 – Rubio directed HUD to resume inspections of 29 low income properties throughout Florida.
- May 5, 2021 – Rubio requested HUD take immediate action at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville.
- April 30, 2021 – Rubio requested HUD to take immediate action at Eastside Terrace and Eastside Gardens Apartments in Jacksonville.