2 more public housing units to be shut down in Alexander County


THEBES, IL — A public housing shutdown is forcing 31 families from their homes.

The housing authority in Alexander County, Illinois, announced it is shutting down the buildings in Thebes because of how much it would cost to improve them. It’s the same county where housing units are slated for demolition in Cairo, and some of the families affected are the same ones displaced by that decision.

When Earlene Lyons moved to Thebes after being forced out of her apartment in the Elmwood  complex in Cairo six months ago, she thought she had found her forever home. But, she learned in February that the Thebes apartments will be closing as well.

“I’m very mad at the people. They lied. This was supposed to be a permanent place. This is not a permanent place,”  said Lyons.

She doesn’t want to leave. She said she’s worked hard to make her new apartment as homey as possible for her and her grandson, who has autism and struggles with change.

“It’s hard to find a place where he will get familiar with. He is still just now getting used to the kids here,” said Lyons.

But, a neighbor across the street said she and her family are ready to go.

India Williams is also from Cairo.

“They won’t fix a hole. They won’t fix the window. They won’t fix the sewers. It’s unsafe here, and the school system is terrible,” said Williams.

Earlene Lyons says she does not want to be uprooted from her HUD apartment in Thebes. She was recently moved there from Cairo after the Elmwood HUD complex there was slated for closure.

Lyons said she hopes U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth will be able to help her keep her home. “I love my home. I don’t want to move. She fought for me once, and I got this place. Maybe she can fight for me again, and I won’t have to move,” said Lyons.

In the meantime, Lyons is exploring new housing options in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Duckworth and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin are demanding answers about the decision from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The families in the Thebes apartments have until the end of the year to move. According to a representative from HUD, each family will receive a housing voucher.

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