For East St. Louis, A Glimmer Of Hope For Housing Revitalization

By on January 9, 2018

From NPR:  The federal government returned the East St. Louis Housing Authority to local control last fall, a sign of confidence in the city’s new leadership. But challenges remain, including millions of dollars in repairs and concerns about the conditions at its aging public housing complexes.

90-year-old twins Edna Mayes (left) and Ethel Sylvester, who are both residents of the East St. Louis Housing Authority, pose with East St. Louis Housing Authority Executive Director Mildred A. Motley at the Municipal Building in East St. Louis.

For nearly 60 years, Ethel Sylvester has made a home of her little apartment in the barracks-style Samuel Gompers Homes in East St Louis.

Home, like life, is what you make of it, she says, explaining why she tends a flower garden just outside the door of her apartment at the sprawling World War II-era complex, which is in need of some tender loving care, as well.

She’s so proud of the plants on her porch that a picture of the fruits of her labor hangs inside just a few feet from the actual outside garden. On another wall, above the sink, are the stitched words of Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve … As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

But the apartment complex where she resides might not be able to serve the several hundred people who call it home much longer.

About Dede Hance