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People living in Wheat Ridge hotel forced to move out due to new ordinance

Some believe it's making the homelessness issue worse.

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — Residents living at a motel in Wheat Ridge are being forced out due to a new ordinance in the city.

Wheat Ridge City Council passed the ordinance which requires motels who want to house extended-stay tenants to make security changes and improve living conditions, like providing in-room kitchens. It went into effect on Friday.

RELATED: Long-term motel tenants feel forced out by new Wheat Ridge ordinance

The idea is to crack down on crime and create a safer environment while improving the standard of living.

Right now, there are nine motels in the city that have extended stay tenants. None of them meet the new requirements.

Wheat Ridge Police said that those nine motels represented more than 10% of the total police calls for the city. Wheat Ridge's Community and Engagement Manager Amanda Harrison said the conditions at the motels were significant factors.

"Absolutely, safety is top priority for the city of Wheat Ridge and making sure that our residents have safe and comfortable housing," Harrison said.

But for now, it means that residents have to go somewhere else. People like Teresa and Mike Chateauneuf who have been at the staying at the Best Interstate Inn along Kipling Street near I-70 for more than 2 years.

Credit: KUSA

Mike Chateauneuf is a disabled veteran with a serious lung disease.

"I was happy here," he said. "It's close to the hospital where I need to be."

He said he doesn't like the reason they have to leave and believes it's contributed to the problem of homelessness in the city.

"They just don't seem to care," he said.

He pointed to people camping in a nearby park across from the motel.

"Those were people staying here," he said. "Ten to fifteen people that I can think of off-hand are end up being homeless."

Credit: KUSA

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Since the initial deadline, the city of Wheat Ridge has now created a 30-day grace period giving residents more time to find stable housing.

So far, Harrison said the City of Wheat Ridge has helped around 150 people find a new place to stay.

The city has contracted with a nonprofit called The Family Tree to provide up to $500,000 to support the transition those currently living in motels. The city has a Homeless Navigator working on the issue.

"She's meeting these people and building trust with them so that way they can rely on us that we're here to help," Harrison said.

Last week, Teresa Chateauneuf got confirmation they can move into new housing, with The Family Tree providing furniture and support for rent.

"They're paying us enough rent to where we can get on our feet and be able to continue with the rent," Teresa Chateauneuf said.

Credit: KUSA

"It's working for us, doesn't mean it's going to work for everybody," Mike Chateauneuf said.

Harrison said she hopes that it will work for everybody. She said some motels are on their way to making the necessary changes to welcome extended stay tenants back.

"I think we can help improve the homelessness crisis really in the city of Wheat Ridge for the better," Harrison said.


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