Thebes public housing residents told to relocate - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Thebes public housing residents told to relocate

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THEBES -- More trouble with public housing in Alexander County as two more complexes are set to close. 

Michelle Baldwin has been living at the Mary Alice Meadows complex in Thebes for the past two years, but soon she, and more than 80 other people will have to pack up their belongings and move.

"To hear it last night, it's like somebody hit you in the face with a bat," she said. "I don't know."

At a special meeting Wednesday, officials with the Alexander Housing Authority and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development told residents of Mary Alice Meadows and Sunset Terrace the government was planning to sell the complexes, rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair them. 

She says issues she's had included a ceiling falling in, and sewage problems.

But even with the problems, Baldwin has mixed feelings about being forced out.

"I don't want to move but I want to be somewhere where it's safe," she said. "If they say the living conditions are not up to standards, I'm going to move out the way and let them do what they need to do."

Now HUD will help residents find and afford the costs of relocating, including moving expenses and rent subsidies, but several, like Earlene Lyons, are still very upset.

"I wish they could just give us maybe more time or don't move us at all," Lyons said. "Find another way to get a grant instead of moving us, because these people don't want to move."

Lyons a similar meeting just months before, when she lived in the now-condemned Elmwood Complex in Cairo.

She's furious she's going to have to uproot her life again, despite assurances that apartments in Thebes would be a permanent solution.

"Now we got to uproot again and move again," Lyons said. "If you were going to move me somewhere and you gave me a choice a Thebes being a permanent place, why would you uproot me again?"

But Baldwin says while she'll miss the complex, there's nothing anyone can do now, except make the best of the situation.

"It's a big transition, it's a big big change coming," Baldwin said. "We just got to get ready."

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