ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is immediately taking possession of the Alexander County Housing Authority as of Monday, Feb. 22.
Furthermore, the ACHA Board of Commissioners and its individual members will be removed and relieved of their duties as commissioners.
HUD says this decision comes after a pattern of financial and operational mismanagement, poor housing conditions, and alleged civil rights violations against the households the local housing authority was responsible for assisting.
As a part of this take-over, HUD will assign two of its public housing administrators to assume day-to-day control of the housing agency.
These HUD administrators will have oversight responsibility of ACHA, and will serve as its two-member board of directors.
Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, release the following statement:
ACHA has 494 public housing units in its inventory.
HUD's recent reviews of vacant and occupied units found unacceptable living conditions, including evidence of roach infestations, mold, electrical and plumbing issues, and non-functioning appliances.
According to HUD, these conditions have been ongoing since September 2013 but the ACHA took little or no corrective action,
HUD calls this an immediate threat to the health and safety of the tenants.
ACHA also entered a voluntary agreement with HUD in August of 2015 to address several civil rights findings made by HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
On January 21, 2016, HUD issued a letter to ACHA noting that it is in violation of its civil rights requirements and the terms of the Voluntary Compliance Agreement, and required a Designated Housing Plan addressing the wait list, maintenance employee assignments and pay, lease enforcement, and employment of a permanent Executive Director.
HUD reports ACHA failed to resolve these systemic operational problems, meaning it does not meet the obligations outlined under the HUD regulations, the Annual Contributions Contract (HUD grant agreement with ACHA), and Federal statutes.
HUD will exercise all rights and options available under the ACC, Federal statutes and HUD regulations.