Riviera Beach Thomas Masters suspends protest at Stonybrook apartments

In Riviera Beach, the mayor is giving up his protest at a publicly subsidized housing complex that federal officials say is in unacceptable shape.

Mayor Thomas Masters had said he wouldn't stop protesting until the rats were gone from the Stonybrook Apartments.

Thursday he said he believes federal officials when they say that in ten days, things at the complex will be much better.

"I have a feeling that HUD is going to do what they say they are going to do," said Masters.

Specifically, that means ordering the owners, Global Ministries Fellowship, to do three things within ten days: fumigate to get the bugs out, repair leaky roofs, and make sure all the smoke alarms work.

The owner says HUD sends $1.5 million a year to low-income families who live there.

"There are immediate safety and health issues that need to be taken care of and certified to HUD," Armando Fana.

Some changes have already come to the property since news cameras showed up; security guards watch the gates and the owners have fast-tracked some repairs.

But Jessica Mayes has little hope all will get better quickly.

"You've got 200-and-something units. There's no way they can do smoke detectors, get the rats out, the mold, whatever they are going to do, there's no way," said Mayes.

But others say that the new owners have made a difference since they bought the complex three months ago.

"We just have to give them a chance. With the new owner. It is the old owners who didn't ever fix up anything," said resident Chris Lewis.

The mayor's faith in the federal government to make sure it gets done this time is rooted in the civil rights movement.

"The federal government had to step in and empower Dr. King and make sure that certain things happened," said Masters.

Masters also says that a hotline is being set up for residents everywhere in Riviera Beach who want to complain about poor living conditions.

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