- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 3, 2017

CAIRO, Ill. (AP) - More than 1,300 health and safety issues were recently found at two public housing complexes in southern Illinois, according to a federal housing report.

The information was collected during a September 2016 inspection of the Elmwood and McBride properties in Cairo, according to The Southern Illinoisan , which recently received the report. The inspection was done by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Real Estate Assessment Center.

The inspection scores both housing complexes 17 out of 100, citing deficiencies that include mold, infestation, lead paint and water in the apartments. HUD also found deficient cooling and heating systems that led many residents to heat their homes with their ovens, a dangerous practice that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dozens of families have moved from the complexes. Approximately 150 families remain.

The report, which was dated Sept. 1, 2017, doesn’t include details about all of the 1,376 health and safety deficiencies cited in the inspection. It also doesn’t include the entire assessment of the facilities that was completed by an architect earlier this year, the newspaper reported.

Community leaders who requested the most recent report have asked the federal housing agency to review whether the complexes can be salvaged and rehabilitated, to give remaining families the option to stay in the city.

The Alexander County Board has already denied a request from HUD to use up to $400,000 of county funds designated for infrastructure projects. A regional administrator for HUD requested the funds at an Aug. 19 meeting to repair nine vacant units in Thebes, but the board’s chairman, Chalen Tatum, said the county wasn’t interested in partnering for the projects.

Tatum said the funds were needed to repair the Len Small Levee.

“The $400,000 we’ve obligated a long time ago to the levy that has a three-quarter of a mile (wide) hole in it,” Tatum said. “It protects about four towns. . That’s where we’re at on that.”


Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com

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