In Cairo, the southernmost city in Illinois, the fallout from a recent housing crisis deeply affected an entire community. After decades of systematic racism and oppression, residents in public housing were living in squalor. Black mold lined bathrooms, kitchens were infested with roaches and rodents, heaters didn't work in the winter. Residents didn't say anything because they didn't know they could. They feared the repercussions. All the while, local government officials were living large, siphoning money designated for repairs and maintenance into their own pockets.
It took the work of a few local reporters (Molly Parker specifically) from The Southern Illinoisan to shine a light on the corruption. It was an incredibly bitter sweet battle between the residents of Cairo, the Illinois government, and HUD, but Molly's reporting was the catalyst for positive change. This sort of thing is happening in communities all over the country, especially low-income and minority communities that rely on public housing.
Tom English, the Executive Editor at The Southern Illinoisan summed it perfectly, “I don't think any of this stuff would have happened if it wasn't for Molly’s work. The housing situation would not have improved. That is exactly why local news is important.”
Director - Dustin Cohen
Producer - Jennifer Sharpe
Director of Photography - David William Turner
Editor - Martin Gatto
Sound Mixer - Olaitan Agueh