August 07, 2017

Duckworth Joins Elmwood and McBride Residents in Cairo to Share Ongoing Issues with HUD Secretary Ben Carson


[CAIRO, IL] - Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined residents of the McBride and Elmwood housing developments to share ongoing issues at Alexander County Housing Authority facilities with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson, who was visiting Cairo for the first time after Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) invited him on three separate occasions. During today's meeting with McBride and Elmwood residents, Senator Duckworth highlighted the importance of federal support and working together to move Cairo forward in rebuilding the local economy and improving housing conditions.

"After meeting with Secretary Carson in Washington, Senator Durbin and I urged that he see the conditions in Cairo firsthand," said Duckworth. "I hope after meeting with residents, Secretary Carson recognizes the perseverance and optimism of Cairo's people and the urgent need for action. The only way we can move Cairo and southern Illinois forward is by working together. There needs to be a strategy, as well as support from all levels of government, to rebuild their community and economy."

Since being sworn into the Senate this January, Duckworth has worked to address the challenges faced by residents of these facilities, hold those responsible for this crisis accountable and improve the Cairo economy.

In July, Duckworth visited Cairo to meet with local officials, tour the city and hear directly from residents. Senators Duckworth and Durbin then met with HUD Secretary Carson in Washington, where they secured several commitments from the secretary on behalf of the residents. These commitments included today's trip to Cairo, letting the tenants know about his decision to remove time limitations on emergency vouchers and distance limitation on relocation benefits, a full briefing on the scope and status of the internal HUD investigation - which he said was underway, updates on any referrals that he made to the U.S. Attorney and reiterated again that they continue to seek an accurate assessment of the tenants' desire to stay in Cairo. The details are outlined in a letter that is available here.

Duckworth's posts on both the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation and Environment & Public Works Committees give her jurisdiction over public transportation and infrastructure projects, and she has committed to using those posts to do what she can to create local jobs and improve the Cairo economy.