Durbin Meets With Cairo Public Housing Residents

Continues to press HUD to implement IG recommendations to improve their oversight & administration of public housing authorities

CAIRO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) residents to discuss the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) response to the housing crisis that has forced hundreds of residents out of their housing units due to uninhabitable living conditions.  Durbin was joined by Joseph Galvin, Regional Administrator of HUD's Midwest Regional Office, at Durbin’s invitation.

“Cairo is ‘Exhibit A’ for mismanagement in Washington and locally.  HUD’s failure to effectively oversee ACHA has contributed to the public housing crisis that has subjected hundreds of residents to unthinkable living conditions and forced many out of their homes and their beloved community,” said Durbin.  “No one should have their access to safe and healthy housing threatened as a result of HUD’s inaction.  That is why Senator Duckworth and I continue to push HUD to quickly implement the IG’s recommendations to improve HUD’s oversight and administration of public housing authorities.  I’m grateful to the residents that came out today to share their concerns and will continue working to help ensure that families living in public housing across Illinois and the United States have a safe and healthy place to call home.”

Last month, Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) pressed HUD to quickly implement the Inspector General's (IG) recommendations to improve HUD’s oversight and administration of public housing authorities as outlined in the report that was recently released exposing HUD's inadequate oversight of Alexander County Housing Authority.  Durbin also met with HUD IG nominee, Ms. Oliver Davis, and discussed what her goals and priorities would be at HUD, and how the agency can provide greater oversight to ensure public housing residents have safe and healthy living conditions.

In May, Durbin and Duckworth wrote to HUD Secretary Ben 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.

In January, Durbin and Duckworth introduced the Creating American Investment, Redevelopment, and Opportunity (CAIRO) Task Force Act to form a Cabinet-level task force to address the housing, health, and economic crises in Cairo, Illinois.  In introducing this legislation, the Senators seek to codify a September 2017 request to President Trump that he has failed to act upon.  In that letter, they highlight the Federal government’s role in exacerbating the problems in Cairo and call on his Administration to fulfill a Trump-campaign promise to help rural communities across America like Cairo.

HUD placed ACHA in receivership in February 2016, after Durbin and U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL-12) called on HUD to investigate allegations that residents were living in substandard, often dangerous conditions, and hundreds of thousands of federal dollars had been misused by local housing authorities. Since the takeover, Durbin has met with ACHA staff, tenants, and community activists to discuss the unsafe living conditions at Elmwood and McBride, and his staff has worked closely with HUD and ACHA to address resident concerns.