U.S. Senator Durbin visits students in Cairo, IL - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

U.S. Senator Durbin visits students in Cairo, IL

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
CAIRO, IL (KFVS) -

The city of Cairo welcomed visitors all the way from Washington, DC Tuesday morning on October 10. Two lawmakers, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois state representative Natalie Phelps Finnie stopped in to meet with the students that wrote the letter to Dr. Ben Carson earlier this year.

Some of the students at Cairo Middle School have taken on more than the average student.  

Latrece Brooker, the 7th grader we interviewed back in May, is preparing for her last days here at Cairo Middle School.

“It’s a lot of pressure with the housing crisis.” She explained her fear in moving, “I haven’t lived anywhere else except here so this is the place I'm really comfortable with…and moving to like a new city or town, it like different. Because it’s bigger and more people so it’s like really nerve-wrecking a little bit.”

Senator Durbin wanted to personally meet with the students like Latrece Brooker and hear their concerns directly.

"It’s a reminder to all of us in government this is not just about a government program, this is not just about a building, this is about families, young people and their future,” he said.

40 out of the 186 families in these McBride and Elmwood Housing have already relocated, which means the school has 57 less students.

Robert Williams and his family are still working on their relocation plan. He explained how reality is starting to sink in.

“When I first heard about it I was upset because I’ve  been here my whole life. I kind of  started to get over it, but I was still upset because I had way too many memories here with my friends and stuff,” Williams said he will miss his friends.

Durbin concludes the meeting bittersweet news:

“The funding for the department of housing and urban development under this president is being cut substantially. And the availability of programs reduced substantially. So the time when Cairo needs help the most, when these families have been victimized by housing laws and housing authorities in the past. It’s a bad time in Washington to be looking for initiative and leadership in this area., but we are going to continue to try.”

HUD tells us there is still no target date for demolition – and Senator Durbin and Duckworth are investigating more into the cause of this housing crisis. 

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