MODESTO — Dozens of Modesto families were scrambling to find a new place to live Monday after the Budgetel Inn and Suites abruptly closed its doors.
The motel on McHenry Avenue is not an ideal place for anyone to live. There was trash, ongoing crime and break-ins.
“To tell you the truth, it’s been a living hell,” said renter Bertha Kelley.
But for the families who live there, they say it’s their only choice.
“I mean it stinks so bad out there it ain’t even funny. I mean it’s horrible,” Kelley told FOX40.
Tenants were helpless and soon might be homeless.
“Our home is being destroyed, it’s being taken away,” said renter Alaina Quinn. “I’ve lived here personally for over three years. My son, he grew up here, this is all he knows.”
Court documents show the operator of the inn, United Resorts LLC, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Friday. The company’s attorney told FOX40 legally United Resorts can no longer operate.
“Somebody knew something,” said renter Maya Carter.
The City of Modesto said the owners of Budgetel owe several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid taxes and fees to the city.
Renters like Carter say they should have been given weeks to move. Instead, they were given hours.
Employees at nearby businesses told FOX40 while the closure was sad, they were also relieved.
One man said he has had to call police at least twice a day because of drugs and violence. Another simply said, “I’ve seen some stuff that I thought I would never see.”
City and county agencies have been scrambling to help.
Angela Huerta, a volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul Ministries, helped 15 families relocate Sunday and seven families relocate Monday. The families will be put in touch with the Stanislaus County Outreach and Engagement Center and Turning Point. They will be linked to resources such as mental health, CalFresh and other programs.
By Monday, the city had turned the water back on.
“It really hasn’t been easy because every situation is a little bit different,” said Stanislaus County spokeswoman Amy Vickery.
The county estimated 50 families were still at the motel Monday, fighting to save what little “home” they had left.
“We’re not bad people, we just got ourselves in a bad situation and we could use a chance and some help,” said renter Terry Bye.
The police have said they’ve been called out to the motel a lot. They’ve tried to work with the business owners, asking them to get security and fencing for instance, but they would not cooperate.