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Single mothers fed up with living conditions, crime at Sunrise Towers in Fort Myers

Two single moms who live at a troubled apartment complex say there is no help from the company running it to deal with bugs, lack of air conditioning, and crime plaguing their homes.

Our crew visited Sunrise Towers apartments in Fort Myers on Tuesday, and they had trouble walking through the smell, mold and bugs that were apparent and present at homes in the complex. Families there want someone to do something to help them.

Antonia Cotton keeps her food on the table and out of the cupboards because of nuisance cockroaches.

“We have to clean out the cupboards every week just so they can come and spray,” Cotton said.

Cotton said rarely does someone show up. Bugs and a broken air conditioner are her way of life at Sunrise Towers apartments.

“We were facing homelessness, so I had to take what I can get,” Cotton said.

A U.S. Army veteran and a single mom, Cotton feels like she’s failing.

“My son has … never lived in this kind of squalor in his life,” Cotton said.

There is also crime at Sunrise Towers, including a shooting at the apartments Monday.

“Sometimes I just … I break down, and I’m like, ‘Why? Like what did I ever do to deserve this?’” Cotton said. “The only thing that’s going to stop it is if the owner is held accountable.”

Cotton’s neighbor, single mom Heather Jewell, is fed up.

“I don’t know if you see the big hole in my ceiling,” Jewell said. “My bathroom, I have no door, and this is the finished bathroom that I got.”

Her bathroom isn’t painted and it doesn’t have a shower curtain. Her apartment also smells of Pine-Sol because Jewell’s trying to stay ahead of mold buildup.

“They know we don’t have a choice,” Jewell said. “So this is what we’re left with.”

“If it wasn’t for my son, I swear I’d rather be without a house,” Cotton said. “But I can’t.”

Sunrise Towers has 27 code violations in 2020 alone and more than $200,000 in fines.

We reached out to both candidates for mayor – Kevin Anderson and Jacqueline McMiller.

Anderson, who sits on the city council, said he has spoken with the city manager on how it can be more aggressive at the building.

McMiller said she is looking at some possibilities to handle these private owners and hold them accountable.

The management company that runs Sunrise Towers has not responded to WINK News’ request for comment.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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