Senator Dick Durbin met with residents of Cairo public housing on Tuesday, August 7th to discuss the future of the community.
Plans include demolishing two unused complexes as soon as the last residents depart, then clearing the space for future development. HUD authorities will also be doing deferred maintenance on occupied units and working to improve conditions for residents.
Residents at the meeting expressed concern about how the facility is being run. Complaints included the inability to get internet service, a lack of outdoor space, and the fact that residents must pay to repair or replace air conditioning units that fail.
Senator Durbin, along with Senator Tammy Duckworth, pushed for an investigation into alleged mismanagement by the Alexander Housing Authority which led to unsafe conditions for residents. HUD took over management of Cairo public housing in 2016.
"There were bad things done here, in the past, with the Alexander Housing authority," Sen. Durbin said. "I think they were terrible, they were mean, they hurt innocent people."
Senator Durbin said that while he pushed for the investigation, it will be up to the Department of Justice to act on the findings. He also stressed that this is a long-term project, and it will take time for the necessary work to be completed.