TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates is getting results for elderly and disabled residents in Pinellas Park. More than 30 tenants were directly impacted after the elevator broke down at the end of May.
Oceanside Estates is a three-story government-subsidized building on 102nd Avenue.
“I don’t have anything to have to worry about,” said Marilyn Sheppard.
Sheppard is carefree for the first time in a long time. Right now, she and her dog can finally come and go as they please.
“I can walk out this front door, down a little ways, get on an elevator to get into a vehicle, and go someplace,” she said.
8 On Your Side Investigates first met the 74-year-old last week. She had been essentially trapped in her third-floor apartment for more than two months.
According to management, the sole elevator in one of the buildings was out of service as the parts necessary to fix it were being manufactured.
In the meantime, 8 On Your Side learned tenants were forced to take the stairs.
That’s easier said than done for some, including Sheppard who needs an oxygen tank and a walker.
“It’s depressing to stay here all day and all night long,” she told 8 On Your Side last week.
8 On Your Side spoke with the property owner, manager, local authorities and HUD. Afterward, management offered all impacted tenants a free hotel stay until the elevator is fixed.
“It got a good reaction, a very good reaction because here we are!” said Sheppard.
So far, three tenants have taken management up on their offer.
The elevator is set to be fixed by October.
HUD spokeswoman Gloria Shanahan said that HUD-subsidized housing must meet accessibility for the tenants. That appears to be happening with the hotel accommodations.
8 On Your Side Investigates found no code violations in this building.