Bost said he and Carson also discussed the fact that regardless of who is at fault for the housing crisis, the difficult and unfortunate reality of the current situation is that there are no easy answers. In April, HUD officials overseeing the ACHA in federal receivership announced that they would begin relocating about 185 families from Elmwood and McBride because the developments, built in 1941, are no longer safe, because of their age and years of neglect.

They told the residents that many would likely have to relocate to places outside of Cairo because there is a shortage of safe, affordable housing within the city limits.

Bost said past administrators of the ACHA shoulder most of the blame for the housing crisis. He has also raised questions about whether HUD dropped the ball in its oversight role, as the federal agency is responsible for ensuring locally controlled housing authorities that are allocated federal housing dollars are following laws and regulations and maintaining safe and adequate housing. Durbin and Duckworth also have sought an independent investigation of HUD’s culpability in the situation.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that right now we’re in a situation where we’ve got to make some decisions … and safety has to be first. It has to be. So that makes it real rough for HUD,” Bost said, noting Carson was confirmed as the HUD secretary in March and inherited a situation that began under previous administrations.

“They’ve got to make sure if they’re allowing them to stay until they can make a decision, or until other housing is available, they have to make sure that it’s in safe conditions. That has to be priority.”