Nearly 200 families in Cairo are going to have to move after learning the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to close two public housing complexes.
HUD officials broke the news to the community Monday night.
HUD's Brian Sullivan says the agency had no other choice because it's not healthy or safe for families to live in the Elmwood Place and McBride Place developments.
"I mean the conditions of the properties are such that even vacant units are not being filled. Right now, Elmwood is about 70% occupied. McBride is about 66% occupied."
Sullivan says HUD will assist the affected families to relocate anywhere in the country because there aren't enough available spaces in Cairo, even though most residents want to stay locally.
"It's a bit of a perfect storm, however, because the demand for affordable housing in Cairo is extremely high, yet the supply of that housing is extremely low. What we're hoping to do as we begin this process of relocating these families is to do so in a manner that will allow these residents to locate to better, safer, healthier housing and for those households with school age kids, prior to the start of the new school year."
Sullivan says HUD realizes this decision will have dire consequences for an already struggling community.
"For the 200 or so families who will be looking to relocate shortly, but also on the very community itself, the school system there, the tax base there, the very fabric of Cairo. It's a situation that we do not take lightly."
HUD assumed control of the Alexander County Housing Authority in February of 2016 due to what it called years of mismanagement by the local board.