The next time a motel is condemned in Greenville, local government and nonprofit organizations have a plan to help residents who abruptly find themselves without a place to live.
When the Economy Inn off Augusta Road in Greenville County was condemned in January, more than 100 people were left scrambling to find a place to go. Some ended up sleeping on cots at a local church for as long as three weeks.
Prevention of condemnations is the first goal, according to the “motel displacement response plan” developed by representatives of nonprofits, governments, and churches. The effort was led by the Greenville Housing Alliance. The plan calls for local governments to support motel owners and property managers in making repairs to keep their properties from being condemned, including providing time for them to make repairs and determining whether financial resources are available to support repairs.
The plan said local nonprofit organizations will work “to help people living in precarious housing find sustainable permanent housing.”
When a closure is expected to occur, local churches and shelters will work to find temporary beds for displaced residents, and organizations will provide services such as transportation, job training and placement, and a link to more-permanent housing, the plan said. The organizations expect to provide assistance for up to two weeks but said a few families may need additional assistance.
Greenville Homeless Alliance Coordinator Susan McLarty said 12 motels in the Pleasantburg Drive, Mauldin Road, and Augusta Road areas are being used as long-term housing by low-income individuals and families.
Greenville County has an estimated 170,000 people living in or teetering on the edge of poverty, according to the plan.