Ben Carson returns control of housing authority to East St. Louis
New construction, renovations and demolition are among $10.9 million in planned work on public housing following a critical few years for East St. Louis Housing Authority.
Ben Carson, head of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, visited the city in August 2017 to announce the return of responsibility to local control over the housing authority for the first time since the federal government took it over 1985.
A year after Carson’s visit, an investigation by The Southern Illinoisan and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network found HUD inspectors failed nine of the city’s 12 public housing projects where nearly 4,000 people live.
Of the nine projects that failed inspections, three are slated for improvements or partial demolition, while a new housing project is planned for construction.
The projects include:
▪ A new $2.7 million development including an expected seven affordable family housing units is planned for Forest Boulevard. The units will have two bedrooms, and one of the units will be accessible to residents with disabilities;
▪ Repairs and modifications are planned for Villa Griffin and Lansdowne Towers. The Brenton and Ruggeri towers, both already vacant and boarded up, are slated for demolition. The work for this portion of the project is expected to cost $1.8 million;
▪ Roosevelt Homes, Forest Village and Phoenix Courts Estates: $4.6 million in repairs and modifications, demolition of two buildings in the Roosevelt homes;
▪ John Robinson and John DeShields: $670,000 in repairs and modifications, demolition of non-residential building at John Robinson;
▪ 2606 Renshaw Avenue and 629 N. 33rd Street: $250,000 in repairs and modifications including improvements to bathroom, kitchen, flooring, heating and cooling, exteriors, and sidewalk and pavement;
▪ Audubon Terrace: $860,000 in repairs and modifications including improvements to bathroom, kitchen, flooring, heating and cooling, exteriors, and sidewalk and pavement.
The housing authority’s executive director, Mildred Motley, was not immediately available to provide details on the timeline for the projects.
It was not clear which buildings in the Roosevelt Homes area would be demolished, though there is at least one vacant building there. Nor was is clear where the development on Forest Boulevard would be built.
The housing authority began submitting information on the planned projects to St. Clair County in August. The process is required for the projects to receive federal funding. The authority requested grant money through HUD’s capital fund program.