More trouble tonight for a low cost housing project in Fort Lauderdale. 7News has learned some residents with mold problems are now being threatened with eviction. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN — The idea behind the Dr. Kennedy Homes project in Fort Lauderdale is to provide affordable housing. But as 7News has been reporting for months, now mold in some apartments has become so bad residents are losing their furniture and belongings.
James Hunter: “You know I just can’t breathe in the place.”
Carmel Cafiero: “Have you complained?”
James Hunter: “Yes I have.”
James Hunter hired an attorney who also represents several other residents.
Bob McKee: “Exposure to abnormal levels of certain types of molds is quite dangerous to one’s health.”
Before moving into Dr. Kennedy Homes Laketia Hart suffered several strokes. She and her young grandchild shared an apartment with her daughter. The conditions we found there late last year were alarming.
The mold was so extensive, it even covered her sofa. She was moved by Dr. Kennedy Homes into a new place in a different affordable living location. But she lost most of her furniture and her security deposit.
Carmel Cafiero: “What has Kennedy Homes done for you?”
Laketia Hart: “No, um – um – zero um $500 refund um – no refund uh huh.”
We have had no response to our requests for an interview with Tam English, the executive director and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale housing authority. I even tried to talk with him at his home.
Carmel Cafiero: “We’ve been trying to reach you.”
Tam English: “You gotta go to the office.”
We were willing to go to the office but despite several more phone calls, the silence from English continued.
Dr. Kennedy Homes is a joint effort between the authority and an affiliate of Carlisle Development Group.
In a statement, Carlisle Development said it is working with the contractor to resolve any construction issues and that: ‘Humidity is a common problem. It can be caused by construction defects or tenant behavior. We will continue to put our tenants needs first as we seek to resolve these and any other issues which arise.”
It also indicated Laketia would get her security deposit back within a few days.
Public documents reveal water intrusion, which can cause mold was a concern at Dr. Kennedy Homes as far back as 2012. And that as of last month, there have been 24 cases of mold infestations within the 132 unit complex.
Bob McKee: “This is a dangerous place.”
Attorney Bob McKee says his clients with mold problems are now being threatened with eviction.
James Hunter: “I really don’t have a place to go at right now, so if anything happen I would be in the street.”
Bob McKee: “Where are they supposed to go without a bed? Where are you evicting them to? How ludicrous is that? It’s unsafe here so go elsewhere. Well I’ve got nothing everything I have is poisoned. That’s not fair. That’s not right. And that’s why we’ve been hired.”
McKee says he hopes to work things out for his clients without having to take the issue to court.
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