New housing opens in Cairo, Illinois

CAIRO, IL – Some neighbors in Cairo, Illinois, are celebrating new beginnings this week.

A few families from the Elmwood and Mcbride public housing complexes — which are slated for demolition — will keep calling Cairo home because of a nonprofit group’s decision to buy a building. The building has 10 apartments, and they’re all full.

Families like the Lamberts are putting the Elmwood and Mcbride apartments behind them after they were forced out due to of poor conditions. The Lamberts moved out of Elmwood four days ago, and they said Thursday they already feel at home in their new apartment at Little Egypt Estates.

“I was having outside pest control to come in and spray to keep the roaches down,” said Bessie Lambert.

But, it’s a bittersweet moment. How do you pack up 40 years of memories? Their Elmwood apartment was the only home they ever knew. They were even married there.

“I didn’t want to leave. I’ve been in that spot for 40 years. What someone else did is just force us out,” said Lambert.

But they didn’t just want to stay in their home. More importantly, they wanted to stay in Cairo.

 

“I have a son that has a disability, and getting used to new doctors, medications, and where places are at, that is hard on him and he does not take to change,” said Lambert.

The new building has given the neighbors impacted by the Cairo housing crisis hope.

“It makes me feel like we are not forgotten. It makes me feel like there is somebody that really cares about us,” said Lambert’s husband, Paul.

The Lamberts are hoping to make new memories in their new home once they’ve finished unpacking.

The Little Egypt Estates property manager told me there’s a possibility that another apartment building will open for other Elmwood and McBride residents, but it’s still in the talking stages. The building was bought by the nonprofit Key Hole to Opportunity in August. They have 36 houses in Cairo with Section 8 subsidies.

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