ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — About 30 people became temporarily homeless after a low-budget Alaska motel was abruptly closed on Thursday due to myriad safety code violations.
Anchorage Stay N’ Save in the state’s largest city is facing multiple violations following an inspection by city officials, police and fire investigators.
Authorities reported to the hotel after learning there was no heat or hot water at the motel. The facility also lacked working sprinklers and smoke detectors, according to city fire marshal Brian Deal. The hotel had boarded-over or ill-fitting windows, padlocked doors, space heaters in rooms, feces-lined showers and junk in the hallways, he said.
A handwritten sign on the main door read, “No Trespassing. Fumigating,” the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Gas had been shut off since September due to nonpayment.
Owner Kelly Cusack Millen claimed Enstar Natural Gas would not work with her to provide gas for her customers. She said she was trying to pay thousands of dollars owed but the utility provider was not being flexible. She also said many of the hotel’s guests were behind on payments.
“Our longstanding practice is to work with all customers to establish payment arrangements and avoid service disruptions,” said Hobson, Enstar’s administrative and communications manager.
Karlo Mercene, director of Catholic Social Service’s family homelessness program, said he was asked to help some of the now homeless guests find temporary housing.
The displaced guests were told to grab the belongings that they could and leave the building immediately.
“They had no idea what was happening,” Mercene said. “They were scared and nervous.”
Mercene got three former residents into new hotel rooms, including one who signed a year-long lease on Friday. Some had just paid their weekly hotel bill and didn’t have any money left.