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'What are we supposed to do?' Families who call hotels home worried about being kicked out

Some Greensboro families are afraid they're going to be homeless with money to pay hotel bills running out.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The place we call home is different for everyone but the coronavirus is making it hard for some like Alysia Blake to avoid becoming homeless.

"This is where we've been for the past month," said Alysia Blake from the hotel room she and her two children are living in, "I was able to bring in my deep freezer because it's the only way we can store food."

Blake was working two jobs a month ago. Now she's unemployed because of layoffs and personal health concerns. 

She said she can't afford to keep paying for the hotel room much longer but her family has nowhere else to go.

"I'm just trying to hang on to the last $500 I got but that's about to go in a week, what do we do after that," said Blake.

Homeless shelters in and around Greensboro are full. She's not the only one in this situation.

"The shelter been my last option but now that's out the window," said Terell Williams, also staying in a hotel room, "something has to be done about this."

Williams said he never had a problem paying for the hotel room he and his pregnant girlfriend have been living in for a couple of months--until he was laid off in March.

He has been unable to get set up for unemployment yet.

"For me to be facing this crisis of going homeless just because I lost my job due to something that's out of my control, that's really heavy," said Williams.

Michelle Kennedy is a Greensboro city council member and runs the Interactive Resource Center, a homeless shelter. She said this is a problem she's hoping the city can address.

Kennedy brought up issues similar to this at Tuesday's council meeting. She asked the council what could be done to allow homeless living in tents not to be kicked off private property.

She wants to see the moratorium on evictions expanded to include other cases like tent-dwelling and some hotel residents.

City attorney Chuck Watts said during Tuesday's meeting there is a good legal basis for that argument. A decision has not yet been made.

The council said Tuesday they would reach a decision during the next week as to what can be added into the moratorium.

Kennedy offered some advice to people worried they may be kicked out of their hotel rooms if they cannot pay.

"If they have a longstanding relationship with that hotel or motel, try to reach out to management folks there and see if they will allow them to buy some time if they wait for their unemployment benefits to kick in," said Kennedy.

She said there still may be people who find themselves homeless before the council reaches a decision. She said the Interactive Resource Center is working to provide supplies for people in need, such as tents.

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