Delta Center tenants facing eviction

The ongoing Illinois budget impasse could very soon make a homeless problem worse in one local county.

The Delta Center in Cairo, Illinois, announced in August it would cease operations due to lack of state funding.

The Family Counseling Center saved three of Delta’s eight services, but couldn’t buy them all because of budget issues of their own.

To be eligible to live in the Delta Center’s Stenger Apartments you must have a documented mental health disability. 

Many of people who live in the Stenger Apartments say this is one of the few places where they have been able to live in a community environment and get help.

"It’s just like one big, large family,” said one man who lives at the Stenger Apartments. “We try to take care of each other as best we can."

After months of rumors that their homes were in jeopardy, tenants received a letter on Sept. 14, telling them they had until 5 p.m. on Sept. 30 to vacate the premises.

The men who spoke to WPSD asked that we conceal their identities out of fear that their eviction may be expedited.

"We just thought it was a joke at first, and then it came out to be reality," said the first unidentified man.

"It’s pretty frustrating, because I thought this was permanent," said the second unidentified man.

With such short notice, the Alexander County Housing Authority was not an option, because it has a waiting list.

That has many concerned for their future.

"I’ve got a brother, but I haven’t been able to talk to him,” said the second man. “I’m pretty sure he won’t put me out on the street."

"There’s a great possibility that we’ll all be out there in the street," said the first man.

Cairo leaders are trying and find places for people who live in the Stenger Apartments, but they’re not sure that can be done by the end of September.

Family Counseling Center Executive Director Sherrie Crabb says they are also trying to assist those who are losing their homes with the closure, but with only 9 days remaining tenants may have to lean on hotels and churches to temporarily provide shelter.

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