Families forced from 'unsanitary' motel

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A judge is requiring more than 100 families to leave a south Fulton County motel after inspectors found unsanitary conditions. Inspectors with the Fulton County Department of Health found numerous code violations at the Majestic Lodge and Extended Stay including mold, stained sheets and pillow cases, dead roaches and a dirty bathtub
 
Management said they are giving families until Jan. 31 to leave the motel in order to comply with the judge’s order that requires them to clean -up and relocate families.
 
“That is what bothers me the most, you give them your money, your hard-earned money. It is not the Waldorf Astoria, but you do pay, and they give us nothing,” said resident Drakel Rawls, who has lived at the motel for four months with his wife and three children.
 
The weekly cost is $170. Management said they’ve already taken steps to comply with the code violations, like hiring pest control to come every week.

“They are saying that the people have to get out. It is the dead of winter to get them out at this time  does not make sense,” said Delores Bunch-Keemer, who runs the non-profit Giving A Hand. Bunch-Keemer is asking for the decision to be reversed.
 
“These individuals have nowhere to go, and forcing them out just makes them have to live in their cars,” said Bunch-Keemer.
 
Ericka Davis, the Director of Communications for Fulton County Government, emailed the following statement, that reads in part:


"Fulton County's greatest concern is to ensure that we do not create homelessness and therefore we have been very cognizant of the impact on families in temporary housing to have to be transitioned during the holiday season-and especially with the recent spate of frigid weather.

The Office of Emergency Transitional Housing (OETH) staff held a meeting with the residents of the Majestic Lodge approximately two weeks ago, to explain how we can assist them at this time. OETH staff has been both taking calls and meeting with families every day. The property management, as well as the guests that the County is attempting to help, have been informed that the guests must first find alternate placement prior to the county being able to provide them with rental assistance. To assist with this, all of the guests who attended the meeting were provided a list of properties along with referrals that the County has. Each family has been informed, that once they have been approved for housing, they should call us back and notify our office so that an appointment can be made for them to complete the rental assistance application. Currently there are 24 families who are actively working with the County. There are 102 units remaining (individuals and families) who have not taken our assistance. The County is offering the following assistance: providing rental deposits, utility deposits and assistance with the first months utilities and the first month's rent.

Today (and also tomorrow) OETH was back on the property to provide additional support and motivation for those guests who still have not taken the necessary steps to find alternate living accommodations. A representative from Fulton County Schools has indicated that she will be at the meeting on tomorrow to address the concerns that the residents have regarding school placement and transportation."