Typical building in McBride Housing Complex (Source: Loreto Cruz, KFVS)
"We hear you. We understand the issues that are going on. It takes time to get things back into shape, and we are working on it” -- Interim Director JoAnne Pink
CAIRO, IL (KFVS) -
The Alexander County Housing Authority doesn’t have the cash to correct dangerous and unsanitary conditions for more than 300 people.
A 2014 federal investigation revealed that the McBride and Elmwood Housing complexes in Cairo fell into disrepair after the ACHA illegally spent cash meant to keep things in shape.
Herrin-based firm Eggemeyer Associates Architects was brought in to determine how much it would cost to return the complexes to desired standards.
The results, which were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, explain a 20 year plan to bring the buildings to acceptable standards would cost approximately $36.8 million.
That cost averages to approximately 132,000 per unit, some of which can be rented for as low as $50.
The total hard development cost are estimated at $69 million, were developers to start from scratch.
“Do the funds exist? No they do not,” Joanne Pink, interim ACHA director, and Pulaski County Housing Authority director, said on Monday as she addressed residents of the complex. “We hear you. We understand the issues that are going on. It takes time to get things back into shape, and we are working on it.”
The study concluded that, $7,143,000 of the nearly $37 million price tag are determined as “immediate needs to bring the buildings to applicable codes and standards, “provide a safe environment for tenants,” and would allow the buildings to pass inspection.
“If they got the money tomorrow and said we want to get this fixed,” EAA President Mark Dillon said. “By the time they go through a design and bid process and construction, there’s a year and a half to two years’ worth of work right there.”
Pulaski County Housing Authority director JoAnne Pink was brought in by Housing and Urban Development officials earlier in 2015 to address immediate complaints of residents, and oversee the discussed investigation into McBride and Elmwood.
“Things like this they can’t be fixed overnight,” Dillon said. “It will take time for the government to figure out how to move forward.”
Now that the study is complete, the HUD office in Chicago will determine a plan of action.
“We’re seeking HUD grants and other sources of funding to have a new contracted exterminator come in and are also planning to replace some doors in the complex that don’t lock,” Pink said. “Those two items we hope to have funded and underway before the end of 2015, if not sooner.