U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visits HUD housing complex in Cairo - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visits HUD housing complex in Cairo

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CAIRO, Ill. -- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited Southern Illinois Tuesday, making a stop at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing in Cairo. The senator met with residents of public housing to hear their concerns.

Those residents asked for help getting the basic essentials of modern living, like reliable air conditioners and internet service. 

"We are tired of meetings. We want action. We need something done," said Natasha Woods. 

Woods lives in Shuemaker. She, along with many of her neighbors expressed outrage about the lack of air conditioning. Each apartment has a window unit but when one breaks, HUD doesn't replace it. Mayor Tyrone Coleman says residents have told him that even if they buy a new air conditioner, HUD charges them to install it. 

"That's inhumane," said Mayor Coleman. 

Resident Steven Tarver asked Senator Durbin for help getting access to the internet.

"Internet is vital to pay bills and shop and those kinds of things," said Tarver. 

The Shuemaker Building, where Senator Durbin met with residents, is one of the nicer complexes. But during the meeting, a heater nearly fell off the wall. Representatives from HUD and the Alexander County Housing authority say a plan is in the works to hopefully make improvements to remaining complexes, like Shuemaker. That doesn't include the boarded-up complexes of Elmwood and McBride, which are in too bad of shape to repair. 

More than 150 families have moved out of the Elmwood and McBride buildings but three families still remain. Senator Durbin was hopeful that within a year those three families will move out and demolition will begin. 

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