After the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it would demolish unsuitable subsidized housing in Cairo, Illinois, HUD Secretary Ben Carson began answering letters to the community.

Earlier last month, HUD announced it was relocating residents of Elmwood and McBride subsidized housing complexes being the area is being demolished, according to an article by Jasmine Adams and Brittany Jacob for KFVS.

But despite the area’s deplorable living conditions including being infested with rodents and bugs, the heating and plumbing not functioning and the high crime in the area, residents are putting up a fight about leaving the community, saying it would leave the small community of Cairo a ghost town in the wake.

From the article:

“I’m lost for words," said Elmwood resident Lashana Johnson. "I was lost for words last night. I shedded a few tears. This is our home town – this is where I was raised. I wasn’t raised out here but I was raised in Cairo.  And I watched this area for so long. And for them to just say that they are going to tear it down. Its not right.”

Cairo has nearly 2,400 total residents, this change would displace up to 25 percent of those people.

Resident’s will receive a Tenant Protection Vouchers, which will allow them to relocate to a rental unit owned by individual landlords anywhere the voucher program is accepted. Families will have 120 days to find housing with an optional 30-day extension.

However, many residents are not happy with this solution, and wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson with their complaints. And now, Carson responded, according to an article by Leah Shields and Randall Barnes for WPSD Local.

Carson explained that while creating more affordable housing solutions in Cairo would be ideal, HUD simply doesn’t have the funding for it.

From the article:

In the letter written to Cairo Superintendent Dr. Andrea Evers, Carson wrote: “I've had teams of experts searching for any viable solution to preserve affordable housing opportunities in Cairo, from rebuilding to utilizing manufactured housing. Sadly, there are very limited viable financial options for a nearly bankrupt housing authority.”

To read Carson’s letters in full, click here.

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