Contract for low-income senior housing in Orlando to expire soon



ORLANDO, Fla. - The future of a downtown Orlando building that houses low-income seniors is unclear after residents came to Channel 9, saying building staff warned then that they had two years to move out.

In 1966, the Magnolia Towers first became a peaceful place for seniors to call home. A lot has changed in the Orlando neighborhood in the past 47 years, but not at the Towers, where the rent has stayed low thanks to a deal between the government and the building.

Now, all that could change.

"They informed us that in two years, that all of us would be evicted out of that building," said one senior resident who didn't want to be identified.

The resident was told that contract with the federal government to provide low-income housing for seniors is about to end.

"Well, right away, we were panicky," the resident said.

The Housing and Urban Development agreement, which began in 1966, is what helped keep the 160-unit apartment building affordable for people over the age of 65.

Rents are just a few hundred dollars a month.

"I am very happy where I am at. I just want to be left alone," said the residents.

After Channel 9 contacted management, they sent the residents a letter saying the rumors were categorically false.

But some residents pointed out that selling the building would be lucrative as it is located in downtown Orlando, across the street from the new Performing Arts Center.

"It all comes down to money. That is what it means," said the resident.

But the Westminster group who owns the Magnolia Towers sent Channel 9 the following statement:

"Any rumors about the future of Magnolia Towers are just that: false rumors. Westminster Communities of Florida has no plans or discussions regarding Magnolia Towers at this time. We regret any concern to our residents, their families and the community that this misinformation has caused them.

We "We are a not-for-profit family of retirement communities guided by a Mission to serve older adults. We are proud of our 58-year heritage to create and preserve communities. Over the years we have grown to a size of 24 communities in 17 locations around Florida, 15 of the communities serve older adults with low and very low incomes, including Magnolia Towers."

Still, the statement wasn't enough for some residents.

"It still makes us feel uneasy and not very secure," said one resident.