WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A West Springfield motel is being closed for code violations, but it has some long term residents wondering what’s going to happen to them.
The towns had issues with the Medallion Motel on River Street for years, but it came to a head after some residents ousted from the Agawam Motor Lodge came to live long term in the motel.
Now, residents are being told to pack up and leave. One woman that lives in the motel, Kimberly Cross said, “What they’re doing is deplorable, it’s not fair. You can’t tell people that they have two weeks to get out when they have nowhere to go.”
Many of the residents that live there long term are disabled, live on a fixed income, and some have children. But the town’s building inspector says the rooms aren’t meant to be lived in long term and violate several state regulations.
Mayor William Reichelt said the motel management admitted there are several people that have lived there for well over a month, “Treating it really as an apartment, which it’s not in that condition, it’s not really built it’s not safe.”
Several residents said they paid their rent at the beginning of February, only to learn the next day from management that they would be evicted by the town at the end of this week. The town building inspector had sent a letter and notified management that they would be closing the motel down in November.
Carol Lemelin said, “We paid for the month. We thought everything was fine. The minute everybody paid their rent, they sent out a letter. They gave us each a letter saying that we had to get out so we all asked for refunds and he (management) just laughed in our face and said you’re not getting nothing back.”
The motel never appealed any order from the town or made an effort to meet code standards. The Medallion Motel also owes more than $20,000 in property taxes.
James Tongren, says he has lived at the motel since last year, “This isn’t right, we’re being taken advantage of and because we’re being taken advantage of somebody should step in.”
The Mayor said his office will help residents contact the Housing Authority in West Springfield and HAP Housing in Springfield, even though that responsibility is supposed to be with a landlord.
Kimberly Cross says she already applied for housing in West Springfield, “We qualified for the RAFT program but that program is out of funds, so we have no idea what we’re going to do.” Cross says she doesn’t want to go live in Springfield.
Motel management was unreachable with an empty front office and a non-working number listed online.