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Governor announces effort to assist residents facing housing crisis

Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced an upcoming job and resource fair intended to assist those who are being displaced from a federal housing project in Cairo.

The fair is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 10, 2018, at the Mighty Rivers Worship Center, 1000 Poplar St., Cairo. Rauner announced the event as he visited Little Egypt Estates, a 10-unit low-income housing option where some of the residents of the HUD-operated Elmwood and McBride housing developments already have moved.

“I am glad to see that some of the displaced families have found a new place here at the recently renovated Little Egypt Estates,” Rauner said. “The event at the worship center this January will help us to gauge needs and ensure that all affected residents have a more solid footing moving forward. We care. We’re here to help.”

The job and resource fair will be a collaborative, multi-agency event. Those on board to date include state, local and federal housing assistance representatives, a workforce development team from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and representatives of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Aging, the Shawnee Development Council, local mental health, health and social services agencies, area job centers and local employers.

“This will be a great opportunity for those affected by next summer’s HUD facility closure in Cairo to utilize the resources of our agencies,” said Secretary James Dimas of the Department of Human Services. “We intend to ensure that everyone is aware of it and comes to the fair to learn of the many different avenues of help that are available.”

“We look forward to helping to connect people with job training, résumé-building and interview-skills workshops that will put them at a competitive advantage for available jobs,” said Julio Rodriguez, DCEO’s deputy director of the Office of Employment and Training. “We offer numerous excellent programs and resources.”

Initially, 185 households including about 400 residents were affected by the federal housing authority’s closure decision, which is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2018.

Rauner said state officials are working with local and federal housing authorities to improve the affordable housing outlook in southern Illinois. He also emphasized that his administration is determined to improve Illinois’ economy by lowering taxes, reducing red tape and eliminating the overly burdensome regulations that stymie business growth.

“We want to make it easier for everyone in Illinois to succeed by bringing more jobs to Illinois,” he said.

State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, joined Rauner at Little Egypt Estates for the job and resource fair announcement.

“I’m excited to see attention being given to a housing investment in Cairo that helps those with limited resources,” Fowler said. “Given our current public housing crisis here in southern Illinois, it is more important than ever that we explore all available options and avenues before us to keep our residents in the region, and emphasize the importance and need for affordable housing facilities in downstate Illinois.”