HUD Takes Over Alexander County Housing Authority

Feb 22, 2016

Federal authorities have taken over Alexander County's public housing authority, citing years of mismanagement.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Monday that it was immediately taking possession of the Alexander County Housing Authority. It cited a ``years-long pattern of financial and operational mismanagement, poor housing conditions and alleged civil rights violations.''

HUD said it recently reviewed units and found roaches, mold, electrical and plumbing issues and appliances that didn't work.

HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan says this is only a temporary move until the sub-par living conditions can be improved.

"Our interest here is to return the housing authority to local control just as soon as we can. It's not possible to tell you exactly when that might be since we're just now taking possession."

He says HUD doesn't do this too often because the agency is not in the business of running local housing authorities.

"Public housing in this country is owned and operated by local folks, as it should be. We take this rather extraordinary step in the most extreme of cases and really only when it's required to protect the health and safety of the families, who like all of us, are looking for a safe and decent place to call home."

Alexander County Housing Authority executive director Jason Ashmore declined comment Monday.

HUD officials said the agency was assigning two administrators to assume day-to-day control of the agency effective Monday and had relieved the housing authority's commissioners of their duties. HUD said it would communicate directly with Alexander County Housing Authority residents and employees. HUD is hosting a public meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. on the first floor of the Smith Building in Cairo.