EAST ST. LOUIS – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson today announced that HUD is returning the East St. Louis Housing Authority to local control after more than 30 years of federal receivership.
Carson traveled to East St. Louis today to make the formal announcement along with Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks.
HUD took over operational control of the ESLHA on Oct. 28, 1985, following years of deteriorating physical conditions, financial mismanagement and a lack of effective leadership. Today’s announcement formally ends the first and longest federal receivership of a local public housing authority. Under the terms of the Transition Agreement, the mayor will appoint a five-member Board of Commissioners and HUD will transfer ESLHA’s assets, programs and projects to local control. The Board will work with the housing authority’s Executive Director Mildred Motley to oversee management of more than 2,000 public housing units as the local agency works to improve continuing physical and financial challenges.
“This has been an extremely long road but we now feel confident there the necessary capacity in place to turn the keys back over to our local partners,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Running a housing authority isn’t easy, but it requires the very best of those who manage public housing because the folks who call these units home deserve nothing less.”
“Today marks a significant milestone for residents and the ongoing revitalization efforts in East St. Louis,” East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks said. “Over the past year-and-a-half, HUD, the ESLHA, members of the Advisory Board and I have developed a great working relationship to transition the housing authority back to local control. I am thankful to these individuals for playing an intricate role in helping ESLHA reestablish a new governance structure for accountability and transparency. We will continue to nurture our relationship with HUD and other public and private partners as East St. Louis reaches new heights. I am very appreciative of the outstanding residents who agreed to serve as ESLHA Board members and the city council’s strong support of the new board.”
HUD believes the City, ESLHA and the agency’s Board of Commissioners can responsibly assume control of the agency’s 2,033 public housing units. Meanwhile, HUD will work with the Board of Commissioners to execute a two-year Enhanced Oversight Plan. As part of that agreement, HUD will designate an Oversight Administrator and a team of specialists to continue to provide support, manage HUD-provided technical assistance, and monitor ESLHA’s performance in addressing ongoing and long-term challenges, including:
Development of a long-term strategy to address the rehabilitation and/or replacement of aging developments and chronically vacant units;
Sustain operations within its means, build its reserves and maintain long-term financial health;
Resolution of any audit recommendations and development of strategies to effectively administer its programs; and,
Utilization of its Replacement Housing Factor grant to acquire and/or redevelopment new public housing units.