Tenants, Housing Authority working towards change

The 75-year-old McBride projects in Cairo, Illinois, are home to dozens of people, but the buildings are surrounded by trash that leads to infestations of mice and cockroaches.

After living in the McBride projects for the last year, Joanne Salley has had enough with the trash.

“We shouldn’t live like this,” said Salley. “Everybody should play a part in cleaning up."

Piece by piece, she’s determined to make a change in her neighborhood.

"If we don’t get ourselves together, then we aren’t going to have nothing,” said Salley.

Short on staff and funding, Alexander County Housing Authority Director Jason Ashmore says he needs more people like Salley to help him make a change in their lives.

"Everyone deserves to let their kids go out and play and not be worried about it,” said Ashmore. “The living conditions aren’t up to par out there. I admit that, and that’s something we’re going to address right away."

Ashmore says they need to clean up the area by removing trash like this that surrounds the McBride Apartments. Then they can either clean up the existing projects or simply build new stand-alone homes on property that the housing authority already owns.

"I would personally like the stand alone, because they’re nicer,” said Ashmore. “People get more privacy, and they have their own little yard for their family.  In my opinion that’s a better way to go."

"I’d rather they fix this, because I can’t stand nothing any smaller,” said Salley. “I’m hoping they can fix it. I’m hoping if they get together and do their part, we can get it cleaned up."

Without funding from Housing and Urban Development, it’s likely that neighbor plan gets accomplished.

HUD leaders will be in Cairo, IL, on Tuesday and Wednesday touring the Alexander County Housing Authority properties like McBride projects.

Their report will determine if the Housing Authority gets funding, and how things around Cairo will change moving forward.

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