Motel Residents Forced to Leave

March 20, 2009 12:54:28 AM PDT
The Storyland Inn has gone from being a tourist stop on old Highway 99, to the last stop for folks desperate to find a place to live.Mario Manfredo, and his wife have lived here four years. They have four children, sharing one room, and one bed. Manfredo says without money for first and last month's rent, and credit references he can't put his family in a regular apartment. "We don't want to live here, but it's hard for apartments, you have to have a co-signer, you have to have this, if you don't have that, we don't, we live here," said Manfredo.

But the Manfredo family and more than 50 others will not be here much longer. The City of Fresno's Code enforcement office has declared every unit here as being unfit to live in.

Manager Alex Lopez says the city is requiring a complete re-build of the building. He said, "Basically everything all over. Everything new from the walls to the floor, carpet, plumbing."

Despite the disrepair, this place has been home to Sara Guiterrez for the past six years. She doesn't know what's ahead. She said, "All of the sudden we just woke up with the signs on the door, saying that we had ten days to move out." She say she has no idea where she and her three other family members will go.

Some Storyland residents have contacted Central California Legal Services. Attorney Chris Schneider says it's a very tough situation. He said, "You really don't want to see living in dumps like this, on the other hand, what's the alternative. We see the tent city growing by the bridge. More and more families are homeless."

The one room units at the Storyland Inn rent for from $450 to $600 a month. Finding another place will be a challenge for many.

Under state law the landlord must give those evicted two months' rent and a utility deposit, but the manager says the owner is offering to motel some of the people to another old motel he owns, just down the street.

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