Homeless in NC: Gastonia to tear down "nuisance" hotel

Some residents have lived there for decades:

The city of Gastonia takes the keys Friday of a motel it declared a nuisance and bought for $1.2 million in December 2016. Owner Jay Patel, who paid $825,000 for the motel in April 2014, started telling guests three months ago that on Monday morning they would all have to find a new place to live.

After 60 years, the Budget Inn will give way to the city’s multi-million dollar plans for a Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District and stadium that city leaders hope will bring new life to west Gastonia. City leaders hope the district, which will be called “FUSE,” connects a reinvigorated downtown with the redevelopment that transformed the Loray Mill from the site of the deadly 1929 textile strike into luxury loft apartments and retail space.

As many reading this already know, I've become deeply involved in downtown revitalization efforts in my small town. I'm all for new development and re-development of existing and sometimes historical structures, but I'm also very keen on watching out for that 18%-20% who live at or below poverty level. In this particular case, it doesn't appear the City of Gastonia is lifting a finger to help relocate these folks, something that any responsible government body should at least attempt to do:

Scoliosis has curved Daniel’s back in a way that makes it appear her head rests on her chest when she stands. Rheumatoid arthritis limits mobility of her arms. On Thursday, Salazar said she helped Daniel start the paperwork necessary to move into an assisted living center, but that situation does not seem certain.

“She’ll have to go somewhere where she can get help,” said Salazar. But she’ll first have to go to another motel as details get worked out for a spot at an assisted living center, Salazar said.

Life in the margins with little money makes options tough.

“I’ve went to every place in Gaston County looking for her a place to live and what do I get?” Salazar asked. “A door slammed in my face,” she answers.

Even my small town did the responsible thing and constructed some "economy" apartments for senior citizens. But it isn't just retired people at risk in Gastonia:

Roscoe, who turned 30 in January, has lived at the Budget Inn for six months with her husband Steven and their three children, ages 14, 10 and 8. They had a home, but Steven Roscoe lost his job and they lost their home, Gabrial Roscoe says.

She’s ready to leave the Budget Inn, but said on Thursday night she doesn’t know where she’ll move when the extended-stay motel closes for good Monday morning.

“I hope it’s not going to be another motel,” she said.

Living at the Budget Inn has exposed her children to drug dealing and fights, prostitution and drunkenness. She said she tries to shield them the best she can by staying outside with them while they play and bringing them inside a hotel room with just two beds at night.

I'm sure right-wingers would say something like, "Wherever they go would be better than that." Maybe so, but when a government purchases a multi-family facility to tear down and replace with something else, the entire community has become an evicting landlord by extension. And doing nothing to help these people is a grossly irresponsible act.

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