GASTONIA, N.C. — Dozens of Gaston County families are now looking for a new place to live.
Those families were living at the Fairfield Inn in Gastonia after falling on hard times because of the pandemic, but they told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon that they were shocked when they found out Friday morning, that they needed to pack their bags and leave.
“It’s like my world just keeps falling apart,” said Wendy Conklin.
She and other former tenants said about 22 families had been living at the hotel under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Conklin said a social services safety net provided by the county paid for their rooms. It was designed to help people on the verge of homelessness find a place to stay.
She told Lemon that her social workers at the Department of Social Services said her rent was covered for the month of April, but on April 1, hotel management told her she needed to leave.
“They say, ‘Yes, you have until 11 to get out.’ I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere because I have nowhere to go,’” Conklin said.
She was told the agreement between DSS and the hotel fell through.
Hotel managers would not comment Monday about what happened.
Conklin said she is staying with family now, but that it’s temporary and that worries her. She told Lemon she lived in her car for months before she was enrolled in the program. That’s no longer an option for her, because she was in a crash in January and her car was totaled.
“I need a roof over my head immediately,” she said.
Conklin said she spent the last couple of days searching for another place to live, but there is not much space available and few will help people enrolled in this program, even considering that she has a job.
“And I’m still wondering what to do. I don’t want a handout, I just want help,” she said.
She said some of her friends who were also forced to leave have children and they are in the same situation.
Channel 9 reached out to Gaston County officials to find out if they agreement with the Fairfield Inn fell through, or if there were other reasons for the sudden change. We have not heard back at this point.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘On the street’: Extended-stay hotel gives no notice to residents to vacate property)
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