Lawsuit aims to prompt city inspectors to keep close eye on HUD properties, protect tenants

A group of public housing residents are suing a city official for not enforcing building-quality standards at federally subsidized apartments, saying the policy has unfairly left low-income tenants to languish in poor living conditions that are illegal under city law.

News Story Christopher Hong, Andrew Pantazi
Florida Times-Union
September 18, 2016

Tags: Housing: Discrimination

Organizations mentioned/involved: Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA)


Jim Kowalski, executive director of the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, which is representing the residents, said the city policy doesn’t make sense and it creates a disparity between who can and cannot receive city services.

“If you rent a house in Mandarin, you can call 630-City. If you rent a Section 8 house, you can’t,” said Kowalski, referring to the city’s hotline to report potential building code violations. “If you call 630-City and ask for assistance on enforcing the building code, it really shouldn’t matter where you live.”

The five residents filing the lawsuit reported complaints earlier this year with the city about poor living conditions, like roach infestation, broken windows and collapsing floors, at Oakwood Villas, Washington Heights, Hogan Creek Towers and Twin Towers.