As the new Congress starts to get to work, two members of the Florida delegation–Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson–unveiled a proposal ensuring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) keeps public housing properties at safe temperatures.

Rubio and Wilson brought out the “Safe Temperature Act” and brought back the “Liberty City Rising Act” on Thursday, the first day of the new Congress.

“The Safe Temperature Act would give the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the ability to require properties receiving federal assistance to safely maintain temperatures between 71 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit,” Rubio’s office noted. “This legislation was drafted in response to Liberty Square tenants who lacked access to air conditioning and were living in extremely hot temperatures. Residents will not be required to purchase heating or cooling units, but will be required to pay a surcharge for electric usage.”

The Liberty City Rising Act “would improve safety standards for public housing complexes located in high-crime areas, such as Miami’s Liberty City and Overtown” Rubio’s office noted.

Rubio weighed in on why he had brought out these proposals.

“During my visit to Liberty City last year, I heard firsthand from a community that has been fraught with violence and dangerous living conditions for far too long,” Rubio said. “I will work to pass the Liberty City Rising Act and the Safe Temperature Act as a means to ensure that communities, like Liberty Square, are held to higher safety standards so that these families can raise their children in safe and sanitary living conditions.”

“In a city like Miami, where the cost of living is well above the national average, public housing is often also the most affordable for low-income families and individuals. the Safe Temperature and Liberty City Rising acts are important steps toward ensuring that federally assisted developments like Liberty Square are safe and healthy environments in which tenants, especially children and the elderly, can live comfortably,” said Wilson. “No one should be forced to live in discomfort or in danger simply because they are poor. I am excited to partner with Senator Rubio to advance these measures and work to ensure that public housing facilities in District 24 are in livable condition.”


Kevin Derby can be reached at

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