The Government Accountability Office’s findings mirror those of an investigation by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica, which documented numerous cases in which substandard housing complexes received passing — and even glowing — scores from HUD.
My goal this year was to explore HUD’s failure to enforce legal standards for decent, safe, sanitary housing. What started as a simple premise brought to light greater challenges: Years of congressional cuts have left the agency in a state of chaos as communities suffer.
As recently as last year, HUD had told officials in Wellston, Missouri, that they would get their local housing authority back. Then federal officials changed their minds. Wellston will join a growing list of HUD oversight failures, including the Illinois cities of East St. Louis and Cairo.
The system for inspecting federally subsidized properties is failing low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities and undermining the agency’s oversight, The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica have found.
Dangerous buildings sometimes pass inspections and scores whipsaw with seemingly little explanation, an analysis by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica has found. The system has led to a culture of making cosmetic fixes and avoiding major repairs.
Last year, HUD Secretary Ben Carson gave control of the city’s public housing complexes back to local officials after a lengthy federal receivership. He said problems had been fixed, but an investigation by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica found deteriorating conditions.
The HUD secretary came to town last year and declared residents were no longer at risk, three decades after the federal government took over public housing here. In fact, the complexes are falling apart and a woman was killed in the weeks before his visit.
As residents in Cairo, Illinois, dealt with mice, toxic mold and lead paint, HUD officials waited to step in, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general. HUD “could and should have done more to oversee it,” a new report says.
HUD says it doesn’t have the funds to fix up two public housing developments in Thebes, Illinois. The state’s two U.S. senators question whether the agency’s decision to close them — forcing 85 people to relocate — violates federal law.
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