With Florida in Mind, Marco Rubio Takes Aim at Slumlords

By KEVIN DERBY Sunshine State News

Renovation begins at Eureka Gardens, Jacksonville

Renovation begins at Eureka Gardens, Jacksonville

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is looking for the federal government to crack down on slumlords, and he’s got  some bad actors close to home in mind. 

This week, Rubio brought back the “HUD Inspection Process and Enforcement Reform Act” which, he insists, will “improve the federal housing inspection process, hold slumlords accountable for misusing taxpayer dollars and ensure they are not endangering the health and safety of tenants.”

He pointed to the federal investigations into the Global Ministries Foundation (GMF) as one of the reasons for his proposal. Going back as far as 2015, Rubio has ripped into GMF’s handling of public housing properties, including Eureka Gardens in Jacksonville, Stony Brook in Riviera Beach and other facilities across Florida. 

“Low income housing residents have suffered at the hands of slumlords like Global Ministries Foundation who were able to get away with their despicable scheme in part because of HUD’s lax oversight,” said Rubio when he brought out the bill this week. “This legislation will protect vulnerable residents from these despicable slumlords and hold HUD accountable for the deplorable living conditions that too many Floridians have had to face.”  

Rubio’s bill “allows the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to remove certain HUD employees from civil service or reduce the grade or pay for misconduct or performance.” The bill also protects whistleblowers and “allows the secretary of HUD to better enforce safe and sanitary standards in federal housing and requires HUD to publish housing reports that detail inspection scores of facilities, as well as actions taken to protect the health and safety of affected tenants.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday. So far, Rubio has not reeled in any cosponsors. There is no version of the bill so far in the U.S. House.