Kennedy Homes: An American Tragedy

Kennedy Homes: An American Tragedy

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In the early morning hours of October 6, 2003, an electrical fire erupted in the a€˜Da€™ building at the Kennedy Homes Apartment Complex in Gainesville, Florida, causing the evacuation of its 142 families, 98% of whom were African-American. The fire was strikingly similar to a fire in the a€˜Aa€™ building three years before. The owners, who received nearly a million dollars annually from HUD to operate the facility for low-income families, gave assurances that the complex would be properly repaired and that it would remain in existence until 2009. Two months later, it was closed forever. Kennedy Homes was built in 1968 as part of the a€œWara€ on poverty initiated by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. There are thousands of such complexes across the country. Many are badly deteriorated as a result of age and lack of proper care. What happened at Kennedy Homes is indicative of what is likely to happen at many more such facilities as they continue to deteriorate. Attorneys from the Three Rivers Legal Services program filed suit against AIMCO, the largest owner and manager of subsidized properties in the United States, and others, claiming, among other things, that the fire resulted from grossly negligent management practices, that the closure had a a€œdisparate impacta€ on African-Americans, and that the landlords breached their promise to provide a€˜safe, sanitary and decent housing for their tenants. This book chronicles the ensuing five year battle.The reason this was done was, I think, that they were having trouble with some circuit breakers tripping on occasion, just depending upon what they were running in the ... It would basically allow an overload on the wire, so it would keep it, or prevent it, from doing its job and tripping the circuit. ... The larger air conditioning units had 20 amp, 220 volt capacity, but some had 30 amp, 220 volt requirements.

Title:Kennedy Homes: An American Tragedy
Author:Pierce Kelley
Publisher:iUniverse - 2009-05-19


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