JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Residents of a northwest Jacksonville apartment complex say they are living in unsafe conditions and now a United States Senator wants answers from the federal government.
Last month First Coast News told you that residents of Monaco Arms Apartments complained of multiple gas leaks from above ground tanks stored throughout the complex.
Senator Marco Rubio was in Clay County Friday morning to talk with law enforcement about strategies to fight the distribution of fentanyl. During that meeting he also shared an update about the changes that he wants to see in HUD subsidized housing to make sure residents are living in safe conditions.
On August 3rd, Senator Rubio sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development demanding that HUD reinspect Monaco Arms Apartments. Rubio's letter can be read here.
Rubio's letter also cited a First Coast News story about has leak complaints by residents.
"I'm very concerned because it's a fire hazard," said Monaco Arms Apartments resident Jonathan Keller in the July 13th story, "the kids the other day were out here playing and lit the park on fire and the fire was actually reaching the propane tank."
On Friday, Rubio said that HUD responded to his letter within a couple hours of it being sent but added that changes need to be made.
"In the case with HUD, what I think has been troubling is these are facilities that are being inspected, they're passing HUD inspections and yet they're clearly unsafe structures," said Rubio.
Monaco Arms hadn't been inspected since August of 2021, but that inspection was a 95 out of 100 and actually improved from the inspection results it had 4 years prior.
Residents hope change comes to the complex that they call home.
"As one person you can't make that much noise to move anything," said Monaco Arms Apartment resident Dafin Goodridge in July, "If we come together as one and work on an issue together, that will actually bring answers out."
Rubio said that he wants HUD to be more proactive about doing inspections and to make sure the companies that manage properties can afford to actually make the repairs that residents need.
"Hopefully we'll see improvements, but this can't be the only way it works is when we send a letter or the news runs a story on it," said Rubio.
First Coast News reached out to the property management company that oversees Monaco Arms Apartments to see if any repairs have been made or scheduled and have not received a response as of publication of this story.