EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The city of East St. Louis has regained control of its housing authority after three decades, though it still has some federal oversight.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday formally returned the southwest Illinois city’s housing authority to local control. The department has entered into a transition agreement with the city that allows the department to assign an administrator to oversee the authority for the next two years.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said the housing authority has improved. Its services are equal or better than the department’s standards, the facilities have improved, and laws have been satisfied.
“There’s much stronger, better trained leadership in place and in June of this year, HUD completed an assessment of the housing authority and determined the housing authority had built sufficient capacity in governance and operations to function independent of HUD’s direct control,” Carson said.
To avoid corruption and financial mismanagement, a five-person commission made up of the city’s residents has been appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council.
“The mayor has appointed a commission of five individuals who have undergone extensive training in terms of what to look for and in fact there will be an oversight committee looking to make sure we’re not falling back into the same pattern,” Carson said.
The housing authority had been under federal authority since 1985, when the local housing director was convicted in a kickback scheme that involved more than $1 million in federal housing funding.
This story has been corrected to show that the five-person commission made up of the city’s residents has been appointed.