ORLANDO, Fla. - U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio sent a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Friday, urging the agency to ensure repairs are made to a government-subsidized apartment complex in Orlando, one day after Channel 9 reported about deteriorating conditions at one of the units.
Nelson said he was appalled when he saw Channel 9's report about leaks and mildew at the apartment of Kensha Loyd, a mother of three who said she had to leave her apartment because of leaks in the ceiling that have remained unfixed for more than a week and because of mildew growing on the carpet.
"My apartment is still filling with water as we speak," she said. "They haven't said anything -- nothing."
Since 2015, Channel 9 has reported on loose railings, flooded units and damaged electrical outlets that could have sparked fires at the Windsor Cove apartments.
The complex owes the city of Orlando almost $2 million for code enforcement violations, which has resulted in a lien on the property.
Channel 9's Megan Cruz tracked down Nelson on Friday after a campaign event to show him the conditions at the complex, which has received millions in federal tax dollars since 2012.
"This is absolutely so infuriating," Nelson said. "People cannot live in those conditions in a United States government-funded project."
Nelson said he was furious to learn that not much has changed since he fought for better protections for the complex's residents.
"That's water that's flowing onto the floor," he said. "(That's) absolutely awful. (It) looks like how Marco and I saw it two years ago. It's inexcusable."
Channel 9 was there when Nelson called Rubio on Friday to discuss the conditions of Loyd's apartment.
"Hey, Marco. It's Bill. I'm in Orlando. Channel 9 discovered that the conditions at the Windsor Cove apartments are as bad, if not worse, than when we visited," he said during the phone call. "(Let's) put our weight behind this and get them cleaned up."
The complex has also experienced crime. In 2015, the Orlando Police Department searched the complex for a gang of gun thieves.
That same year, the Orange County Sheriff's Office identified a murder suspect by watching a music video that was filmed at the complex.
Guns and drugs were depicted in the video, but guns aren't allowed at government-subsidized apartment complexes. Last year, Nelson and Rubio spearheaded legislation requiring HUD to better police subsidized properties.
"HUD's not doing the job, obviously," Nelson said. "This is incompetence by HUD in Washington and all their regional offices, and this makes me very, very angry."
Loyd said the complex has since offered to pay for a hotel stay while the leaks are repaired.
A spokeswoman for GMF-Preservation Of Affordability Corp. provided Channel 9 the following statement one week after this story was published:
"GMF-Preservation of Affordability Corp and Millennia Companies continue to work daily with HUD, as well as with local, state and federal officials, as we approach the expected closings for the sale of all GMF HUD Section 8 properties over the next few months. While the properties have been under contract for sale to Millennia, we have worked closely with our property management team at Millennia as they address residents’ concerns while we still own the properties. All health and safety issues at the properties have been and will continue to be taken care of by the Millennia property management in compliance with all federal, state and local requirements."
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