JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GMF-Preservation of Affordability Corp. (GMF) appreciates that Senator Rubio took time to visit three apartment units he pre-selected prior to his press conference last week at one of our affordable housing properties in Florida. Senator Rubio’s six year term has nearly ended, yet last week was the first time he has ever visited Eureka Gardens or any of GMF’s properties. It is unfortunate, that the Senator went on national television making false allegations and criticizing GMF’s affordable housing complex prior to setting foot on the property.
“Given that Senator Rubio has failed to acknowledge the tremendous improvements GMF has made since acquiring the long-troubled Eureka Gardens property only three years ago, it appears that the false accusations against GMF and HUD by him and local politicians may have more to do with HUD Secretary Castro’s name being mentioned for national office than with a genuine interest in Floridians’ need of safe and affordable housing," stated Rev. Richard Hamlet, President/CEO of GMF Preservation of Affordability Corp.
In response to frivolous claims that GMF is not making adequate investments in its affordable housing properties “the truth is that GMF has invested $1.5 million in the last three years and has allocated an additional $1.0 million to restore Eureka Gardens’ critical infrastructure. Eureka Gardens did not evolve into a problem property overnight; rather, it has been a burden to the City of Jacksonville for decades. Unfortunately, state and local government and community leaders largely ignored Eureka Gardens and allowed it to suffer decades of neglect and decay under previous owners. GMF recognized this need when it acquired the property in December of 2012 and continues to work tirelessly to make improvements for the benefit of its residents, improvements which should have been made years prior to GMF’s purchase of the property,” added Hamlet.
Since GMF began restorations in early 2013, Eureka Gardens has had a growing waiting list for its apartments and the property has passed every HUD inspection.
In response to Senator Rubio’s allegation about anyone’s ability to misappropriate HUD funding, GMF wants to be crystal clear regarding the HUD oversight process. The finances of each and every HUD property owner – including GMF -- are assessed on an annual basis by an independent auditor. These auditors have never found any wrongdoing regarding GMF’s acceptance of HUD rental subsidies in connection with the operation of any of its properties, or otherwise. GMF abides by and takes seriously our commitment to the law and to IRS regulations. GMF has always been, and will continue to be, 100% transparent.
Unfortunately, it appears that Senator Rubio’s accusations may end up hurting the very people he purports to want to help – low-income Floridians. The Senator’s statements may have a direct and chilling effect on companies seeking to invest in rehabilitation of long-neglected housing for low-income Americans.
Last week, Senator Rubio and former Florida Republican Party Chair, now Mayor of Jacksonville, Len Curry conducted a brief tour of Eureka with the local City Councilman who is Chair of the Jacksonville City Council’s committee to eliminate blight, yet they remain silent and uninterested in the derelict buildings, boarded up houses and drug activity adjacent to the Eureka Gardens’ property, which is home to over 1,000 residents including families with children.
In recent years, the federal government has looked to faith-based organizations (FBOs) to play a leading role in revitalizing low-to-moderate income communities since FBOs are frequently the strongest institutions in such disadvantaged communities. Like many FBOs around the nation, GMF has answered the call to service by investing in affordable housing for low and moderate income Americans. By working with local partners, GMF offers each of its housing communities a litany of social services based on location and resident needs. All such services are provided at no cost to residents and are completely voluntary.
Throughout this media-driven and politically motivated scrutiny, GMF has been – and will continue to be -- cooperative, accommodating and responsive to local, state and federal officials. “GMF’s mission is to go into properties with the most need and look for solutions to problems that existed long before GMF acquired them. It is disappointing that the false narrative perpetuated by the media has now been appropriated by opportunistic politicians. Nevertheless, GMF continues to be committed to finding solutions to systemic issues in low-income housing for the benefit of all residents, whether these solutions involve the continued investment of large amounts of capital in its properties, the sale of certain properties, or both,” stated Hamlet.
GMF-Preservation of Affordability Corp. is a Global Ministries Foundation company that invests in real estate opportunities that provide affordable housing for low to moderate income residents across the United States. GMF ministers to the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of our residents, at no cost to them and on a strictly voluntary basis.