Cairo residents prepare for Carson's visit - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cairo residents prepare for Carson's visit

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CAIRO -- Families in Cairo hope to get answers to questions they've had the last four months when they learned their housing complexes would shut down and they would be forced out of their homes. Tuesday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will visit the town.

"You came down here to see the truth and to see what's going on in Cairo so I'm asking, why now?" resident Shayla Brooker said.

After HUD announced plans in April to empty and demolish two housing complexes in Cairo because of unrepairable conditions.

Brooker said she hopes she can stay in the town she's grown to love. 

"I've been moved around my whole life and after I had my children, it was like I'm ready to stay," she said. "I'm ready to be in one spot, and I want to make a home for my babies." 

Cairo School District 1 will open with 20 fewer students this year because of the move.

Superintendent Andrea Evers worries for the 200 other students that may leave the school district if they can find no living option in Cairo. 

"In small school districts, the "who" matters so much more," Evers said. "Every single child matters infinitely more than what you would ever find in a larger school system small school districts. The relational piece can't be replicated." 

One of her students, Brooker's daughter Latrece, wrote a letter to Carson herself talking about the rough conditions she's had to grow up in, like bug infestation and plumbing problems.

"I've lived in Cairo my whole life, so I really grew up with all the friends I've been with since I was little," she said. 

Now, she said she hopes for a fix to the housing problems without her having to move out of Cairo, the place she's always called home. 

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Mike Bost both plan to attend the meeting, which is open only to families and the media.

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