Al Lawson, Val Demings team up on HUD inspection bill

Al Lawson, Val Demings team up on HUD inspection bill

Eureka Garden, a Global Ministries Foundation property in Jax, has gotten federal attention.

Frustrated with substandard performance from companies receiving federal money to provide affordable housing, two Florida Democrats this week introduced a bill tightening up HUD inspections.

The HUD Inspection Act of 2019, introduced by North Florida’s Al Lawson and Orlando Rep. Val Demings, would compel the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to enforce federal laws more stringently.

“It is my firm belief that everyone should have access to decent, safe and affordable housing regardless of their income or zip code,” Lawson said.

“We’ve seen HUD properties in dilapidated conditions pass inspection, and this is absolutely unacceptable. This bill will provide much-needed transparency in the inspection process and strengthen enforcement actions against properties owners who fail to maintain their properties,” he added.

Lawson knows first hand about grievous neglect. HUD Properties in Jacksonville, the eastern flank of his I-10 district running from Tallahassee in the west, suffered from a less than robust oversight process.

Back in 2017, he vowed to work toward more HUD accountability. Lawson had already written HUD this year requesting a comprehensive audit of the inspection process.

Demings added that the bill “will crack down on property managers who receive federal money while allowing their buildings to fall apart.”

“As Chief of Police, I joined residents in fighting substandard management that left behind leaking water that made kids sick, unsafe electrical systems, and piles of garbage,” she said. “No apartment in the greatest country in the world should ever have to get to that point before action is taken.

“I commend Rep. Lawson for his leadership on this important legislation.”

Sen. Marco Rubio has similar legislation in the Senate, where it hasn’t made progress.

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