Residents forced to move out of White Lion Motel

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Many have nowhere to go after they were kicked out of the motel where they live at in Williamsburg.

The property owner has entered into an agreement with the City of Williamsburg to sell the White Lion Motel. The deal was closed in February. The city takes over the right to the property in June, but those who call the motel home — are being forced to leave — and leave fast.

“Everybody is scared. They don’t know what to do, a lot of people are mad, they’re very angry. What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?” said resident Melanie Blenaru.

For many, a short-term solution for housing — at this Williamsburg Motel — has turned into a permanent home. A place where kids play, and a place where parents keep a watchful eye.

“This is like you’re living in an apartment complex or neighborhood is what it feels like to us because this where we all live,” said Blenaru.

Blenaru has lived at the White Lion Motel for three years. On Satuday, she received a letter from the property manager.

“It is with our deepest regret, that we must inform you that we will be closing the entire brick building…,” said Blenaru as she read the letter.

Blenaru, along with residents in 14 other rooms, need to be cleared out by 11 a.m. Wednesday, said Blenaru.

“We are sorry that the advance notice wasn’t given and any inconvenience this may cause you,” said Blenaru as she finished reading the letter.

It’s a big inconvenience, she says. Some have already started to move out their belongings, while others are scrambling to find where to go next.

Resident Michelle Griffin said the property manager has allowed the occupants to settle down at the motel for the price of $225 a week. Griffin believes a four days notice just isn’t enough.

“My neighbor has two kids, and she doesn’t know where she’s going to go,” said Griffin.

10 On Your Side called the property manager 10 times — no answer. The motel office — empty, and the property owner declined to comment over the phone. Blenaru says she’s checked with nearby motels — and nothing is available.

“You’re asking a lot from people who don’t have a lot to start with. We wouldn’t be living here if we didn’t have any other choice but to live in a hotel.”

The City of Williamsburg tells 10 On Your Side the city’s human services department, as well as the United Way are helping a few of the families. The main focus is finding them a temporary housing arrangement.

Utilities at the motel will be completely cut off by Thursday morning.

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