“It became a homeless shelter, absolutely about it I mean from the business perspective point of view it was great for us, absolutely,” Quality Inn Manager Ron Teji said. “Why from the money point of view, absolutely as a business owner if I’m getting that kind of business, I will not say no to it as long as I know how to run it.”
Teji says giving any shelter to local homeless families is better than nothing. State officials say moving families from hotels to their own homes is critical for independence and jobs.
“It’s absolutely essential and it’s the foundation for everything else happening with the family,” Undersecretary of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Aaron Gornstein said. “You just can’t do these kinds of things. When you’re in a motel, you are just trying to survive.”
Teji says they are now renovating the Quality Inn so that they can attract regular customers and not have their hotel be a homeless one.
The state paid Quality Inn and 11 other local hotels about $3,000 per month per family for the housing. Gornstein says it’s another valid reason that homeless hotels need to be a thing of the past.
“We focused on actually moving families out of the motels completely in both Holyoke and West Springfield so that we’re going to be down to zero families in those motels very shortly-within weeks,” Gornstein said.
And at the same time find quality housing for those who once called the Quality Inn home. The West Springfield Police say they responded to the Quality Inn 12 times in the two years
before the homeless moved in and 265 times in the two years after they moved in.