2 former officials with Alexander Co, IL housing authority accused of fraud

2 former officials with Alexander Co, IL housing authority accused of fraud

CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - A HUD spokesperson is clarifying a letter that was sent to people in Cairo, Illinois that said they have to move out of the Elmwood and McBride housing complexes immediately.

A HUD spokesperson issued the following statement on Tuesday, November 28:

"We're asking residents to relocate sometime during the summer of 2018. We need them to start that relocation process as soon as possible. We understand families have children in school and we would not think of pulling the children out early. HUD is returning the HA to local control near the end of 2018."

Click here for the HUD complaint.

The office of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza weighed in on the letter.

When asked on Wednesday, Nov. 22, they replied, "We are aware of it I believe, but we're still trying to get to the bottom of it and so was the mayor yesterday actually."

In a letter dated November 15, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking for clarity on the relocation timeline. They say they were notified that several residents had received misinformation from HUD-contracted relocation specialists that HUD set a mandatory move-out deadline of Dec. 1.

"As you know, during our meeting in July of this year, you assured us that HUD had no plans to impose a move-out date on residents, recognizing the tremendous impact this would have on the community and local school district as HUD has been unable to identify available housing sufficient for all families wishing to remain in Cairo."

The senators said in the letter that after several inquiries to HUD staff they were told that the agency had not set a move-out date or told its employees to communicate a Dec. 1 move-out date.

The letter goes on to read:

"However, when asked how HUD intends to correct and prevent misinformation from being spread to residents, we were told to refer the residents back to the very same relocation specialists."

It continued with, "This is not the first time we have raised issue with you or your staff about how misinformation and a lack of clarity from HUD regarding the relocation effort harms residents and hinders ongoing efforts to ensure every family living in Elmwood and McBride has access to safe and affordable housing."

In their letter, the senators outlined several more questions for HUD.

The questions are about what HUD is doing to make sure the information disseminated to residents is clear, whether HUD intends to still help all families secure housing and what the agency is doing to maintain Elmwood and McBride while families remain there.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, a spokesperson for the Alexander County Housing Authority said that everything is "as is" with "no rush."

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the agency filed a fraud complaint against two former officials of the Alexander County Housing Authority for allegedly using public housing funds for personal travel and gifts and submitting false documentation to the Federal government.

In April, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that hundreds of residents must relocate from their current homes in the Elmwood and McBride housing complexes because the properties were going to be demolished.

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