‘It’s not fair’: Residents of Opa Lock apartments denounce deplorable conditions as city and state leaders tour the complex

OPA LOCCA, Florida. (TodayNews) — Residents of an apartment building in Opa Loka say that from black mold to constant shootings, they have to live with many unbearable problems for years. Now they are asking for help.

7News cameras on Friday captured black mold on the ceiling of an apartment at the Glorieta Gardens Apartments.

Sharon Roberson, who lives on the block, said the conditions were unacceptable.

“We live with mold, we live with rat infestation, we live with termite infestation,” she said.

Roberson said all of these issues are taking their toll on residents’ health.

“People are taking some of their children away, sending them to their parents because their children are getting sick,” she said.

On Friday, city and state leaders saw firsthand the deplorable, unsafe and unsanitary conditions that Glorieta Gardens residents are forced to live in.

“I’ve heard that there have been several reports without any action,” Florida Rep. Ashley Gant said.

Gant was among the state leaders on the tour. She said what she saw was shocking.

“I went into the tenant’s house and I see – first I am greeted by mold, which is a problem at the front door,” she said. “I see water damage where holes were made in the drywall that residents had to patch themselves. Falling closets, outlet problems where you can’t even plug in one thing because it will knock out the whole outlet.”

Gant also visited the home of resident Frank Lester, where he lived for 22 years. His bathroom is also filled with mold and mildew.

“It was from one extreme to another, you understand?” Lester said. “Nothing really gets fixed; they patch him up and keep doing it.”

Residents say these problems continue and the problems are only getting worse.

Opa-locka city manager Darwin Williams said management has changed several times, adding that the complex is privately owned and under federally funded contract with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Williams said the goal now is to find out what resources are available.

“We are determining whether these residents need to be relocated, and if they need to be relocated where we are going to give them shelter,” he said, “so the situation is really dire and that is the kind of assessment that the city of Opaloka is doing at the moment.”

Residents say their time and patience are running out and their health is still at risk.

“We are asking for a better life. Yes, we appreciate where we stay, but we don’t feel like we should be able to stay here living like this,” Roberson said. “This is unfair.”

HUD officials said they are aware of the situation.

City officials said they would hold a press conference on the matter on Monday.

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