Metro-East News

East St. Louis on track to regain local control of its housing authority

A federal housing official said once again Thursday that the East St. Louis Housing Authority would be returned to local control, but no timetable was announced.

Bill Tamburrino, director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development office in Baltimore, Maryland, said, “I anticipate the transition back to local control, but we have not yet executed the transition agreement.”

He said the target transition date is Aug. 31.

Tamburrino spokeduring a meeting of the local housing authority. He said the agreement, once executed, would make them board members instead of advisory candidates.

“They have to meet all of the requirements to be sworn in according to state laws,” Tamburrino said. And, if everything happens in a timely manner the new five-member board could conduct the city’s next housing authority meeting on Sept. 21, Tamburrino said.

Neither East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks nor Mildred Motley, executive director of the East St. Louis Housing Authority, could be reached for comment.

In 1985, HUD determined that the East St. Louis Housing Authority had substantially failed to meet its obligation as required by law. So, HUD took over the East St. Louis Housing Authority, its projects and programs, as allowed by law. Since that time, the East St. Louis Housing Authority has been under HUD control.

Later, there were failed efforts to put the housing authority under the control of the St. Clair County Housing Authority.

In 2015, East St. Louis filed suit seeking to have control returned to the city, but a federal judge ruled the courts have no authority to rule on the matter.

“We worked on it in 2013 and it didn’t work out then. Now, I am glad to see it coming back to the city of East St. Louis,” former mayor Alvin Parks Jr. said.