BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - Dozens of families are scrambling to find a place to live after they were evicted from an extended-stay motel in Bartow County.
Budgetel in Cartersville failed its health inspection and the state suspended its business permit Tuesday. People were seen gathering their belongings as they were forced out.
Many of the guests live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford more stable housing. Some have lived there for years and said it's like an extended family that has been forced to break up.
"This has really turned your world upside down," Channel 2's Tom Regan said to Cassandra Moore, a guest forced to move out.
"Especially when you're a single mom with two kids," Moore replied.
Moore told Regan she got the bad news while she was at work. She and her kids have lived here since April.
''It's hurtful because there's so many families here and we all help each other," Moore said. "We're all separating. We don't what we're going to do next. We don't what we're going to do next week."
"It's just sad, about this situation here. It's just sad," motel guest James Lewis said.
Motel manager, Tisha Prader, said she is torn up about all the families having to find a new place to live.
"These children are like my babies. I've been here 11 years," she said as she fought back tears. "We are hoping when they are gone, we can do the repairs and make it an actual Extended Stay motel and open back up in future."
Officials said for the past year they've been trying to get the motel's owner to fix code violations, including fire hazards from cooking appliances in rooms, insect infestation and other health issues.
"Due to the severity of some of the violations, we needed to go ahead and suspend the permit," Bartow County environmental health officer Victor Abercrombie said.
The department said the immediate mission is to help the dislocated families find a place to stay.
"We have already placed 24 families. We do have a few more," Abercrombie said.
About 80 children called the motel home. The school bus even came by to take them to and from school. Many kids told Regan they are devastated about have to leave their friends.
"It's torture," 12-year-old Brianna Tutney said. "I have friends here, family. Some of them are moving away. I won't see them again."
Some of the guests said they haven't received a full refund of the lodging money they paid in advance. The manager said she is working to make sure everyone gets all their money back.
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