Source: United States Senator for Illinois Tammy Duckworth
July 11, 2018
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with Ms. Rae Oliver Davis, the nominee to be the next Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an independent investigatory officer tasked with weeding out waste, fraud and mismanagement and helping bring accountability to wrongdoers within the agency and in housing authorities across the country. Duckworth and Oliver Davis had an extensive conversation about Illinois housing priorities and the need for greater oversight to stop preventable crises like those in Cairo and Thebes, Illinois, from happening again. The HUD Office of Inspector General is currently working on at least two reports requested by Senator Duckworth, shedding light on mismanagement, negligence and fraud in the Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) and HUD’s oversight over ACHA. B-roll of today’s meeting is available here. A photograph of today’s meeting is available here.
“The current state of the Alexander County Housing Authority in Southern Illinois, which was taken into receivership by HUD two years ago, leaves hundreds of Illinoisans’ lives in turmoil and with unclear futures,” Duckworth said. “The need for greater oversight of this agency is clear. During our conversation today, Ms. Oliver Davis and I discussed the importance of independence at the agency and ongoing communication to protect families in public housing. I am hopeful that, if confirmed, she will work with me to ensure housing agencies across Illinois and the country remain accountable to the families they serve.”
Oliver Davis is a Southern Illinois native with more than a decade of experience in government oversight roles. She currently serves as the Acting Assistant Inspector General for the Office of Special Inquiry at HUD.
Last year, HUD decided to close two ACHA housing complexes in Cairo, Illinois, without any clear plan for the hundreds of residents who would be displaced. HUD’s recent decision to close two additional ACHA developments in Thebes, Illinois, guts public housing and the local community, leaving even more families in the region with limited options and uncertainty about where and how they will live.
Since being sworn into the Senate in 2017, Duckworth has worked to address the challenges faced by ACHA residents, hold those responsible for the crisis accountable and improve the Cairo economy. Last year, Duckworth visited Cairo to meet with local officials, tour the city and hear directly from residents. Senators Duckworth and Durbin then met with HUD Secretary Carson in Washington, where they secured several commitments from the secretary on behalf of the residents. These commitments included Secretary Carson’s trip to Cairo, where Duckworth joined him and reiterated the tenants’ desire to stay there. The details are outlined in a letter that is available here.
Last month, Duckworth and Durbin wrote to HUD Secretary Carson reiterating their request for HUD to exercise every available measure to avoid evicting any of the remaining residents of the Elmwood and McBride public housing complexes in Cairo, Illinois.