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HUD Secretary visits Jacksonville amid city's housing crisis

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Department of Housing and Urban Development addresses living conditions, housing crisis

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge made a special trip to Jacksonville Monday to discuss ways to address the city's housing crisis.

"It's a place I thought that we needed to come to have a presence to let people know that we are concerned about the condition of some of the properties," she said.

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Secretary Fudge's first stop was for a tour at Sulzbacher Village, where the organization gives health, housing and income services to homeless people, at-risk women, children and men.

There, Fudge held a roundtable where she addressed affordable housing and heard from both Jacksonville-area leaders and HUD tenants like Lisa Manners, who suffers from chronic pain.

"Throbbing pain 24 hours a day for the last three months; they still have not fixed the stairwells," Manners said.

Other tenants complained of mold, mice, roaches, and broken smoke detectors.

Last May, Sen. Marco Rubio demanded action be taken over conditions at the Hilltop Village Apartments in Moncrief. And in July, Action News Jax reported on a rat infestation at the complex.

Read: IRS offering 225 jobs to workers in Jacksonville this summer

Fudge promised Monday to take action:

"We are going to try to do everything we can to make sure that we address their issues, and we're working on it."

Fudge also shared three plans of action to tackle the housing crisis:

  1. She said President Biden plans to request $35 billion in the next budget to build at least 200,000 houses over the next three years.
  2. Fudge also shared plans to keep investors from buying up properties. As we've reported, investors have bought more than a third of Jacksonville homes so far in 2022.
  3. Fudge plans to hold the people who house HUD tenants to a higher standard.

"I do not believe in people living in squalor," she said.

Fudge promises the people of Jacksonville they can hold her personally responsible "for what doesn't get done."

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