Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost today met with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to discuss the ongoing housing crisis in Cairo, Illinois.
“Secretary Carson and I had a frank discussion about the housing crisis in Cairo and failures in the system that helped create it,” said Bost. “Cairo’s suffering is due to years of fraud and corruption at the highest levels of the housing authority, a fact that was highlighted this week as HUD announced that several local housing officials accused of lining their pockets with federal housing funds have been indefinitely banned from seeking similar positions in the future. Ignoring past mistakes will do little to bring justice for the families victimized by the previous housing authority leadership or help them find the safe and sanitary housing they deserve. However, I am hopeful that new leadership is bringing a renewed commitment to getting Cairo back on its feet.”
A 2015 report in The Southern Illinoisan newspaper exposed the plight of Cairo, Illinois, residents living in United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded public housing units managed by the Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA). Living conditions at two of the authority’s housing units – Elmwood and McBride – are extremely unsafe and unsanitary, in large part due to the neglect of the housing authority and the mismanagement of federal housing funds and potential fraud committed by its employees.
Given the poor physical condition of the Elmwood and McBride properties, and the insolvency of the ACHA’s financials, HUD has determined are beyond rehabilitation. Now local residents, specifically the nearly 400 who live at the Elmwood and McBride properties, have been served notice by HUD that they must vacate their units in return for vouchers and counseling services that could compel them to relocate far away from the only community many of them have ever known.