Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
Posted October 30, 2005
At the sprawling Hollybrook
Golf & Tennis Club condominium in Pembroke Pines, volunteers bring ice and
water to neighbors who can't get them at the clubhouse.
But in other condo communities, there is no help for the aged and infirm.
While state legislators may investigate how to provide aid to stranded seniors,
don't expect laws to place that burden on associations and landlords.
"I can't see 80-year-old directors who are equally incapacitated having the
responsibility for 90-year-old residents. It's crazy," said Virgil Rizzo,
the state condo ombudsman.
State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, agrees.
"I don't think volunteerism is something you can legislate. You have to
find the best examples and share how they do it with other associations,"
Association president Ron Pacella said Hollybrook, with 1,902 units, had a plan
in place that included the involvement of local government.
"The city [of Pembroke Pines] has been extra good with water and ice,
delivering it every day with police escorts," he said. "And the city
social services people put a team into action to help about a dozen of our
people whose units were destroyed by roof damage and can't live in them."
In Pompano Beach, residents of the 10-story Building 114 in the huge Palm Aire
condo complex also went into action when the electricity went out.
According to association president Barney Bliman, about seven couples gathered
meat and fish, cooked the items on the association's two barbecue grills and
"walked door-to-door on every floor to make sure everyone had a hot
"I couldn't believe what I saw. It was great," he said.
However, in condo complexes run by several independent governing associations
without a history of volunteerism, help was sporadic.
In Sunrise Lakes, a Sunrise complex with almost 8,000 units and a dozen
governing associations, some groups made sure the Red Cross and Salvation Army
brought aid. The same thing happened in Century Village of Pembroke Pines, which
has nearly 8,000 apartments and more than 40 governing associations.
But other associations did nothing.
Rich said that illustrates why cities and counties must get more involved.
"It's clear that when in Sunrise Lakes no one goes in there for three days
to make sure they have food and ice, something must be done," she said.
"There was a massive breakdown in term of providing aid to seniors. You
can't ask them to go to Markham Park [and other designated locations] for food
and water. They would have to drive on roads without signals and signs. We need
to go to them."