WILMINGTON — Clinton County Coalition on Homelessness (CCCH) participants are trying to help the low-income people who use West Inn Motel for housing after CCCH learned the motel is being sold and dwellers were notified they need to vacate.

Located near the west edge of Wilmington on Routes 22/3, the motel offers weekly, relatively affordable rates for people to stay over, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin said at CCCH’s latest meeting. For people who are already housing-insecure to lose that alternative, he said, puts them at risk of ending up on the street.

CCCH participants have pulled together next-step strategies to share with occupants, realizing a change at West Inn would create a vacuum of low-income housing in Wilmington.

The motel has 16 rooms. Occupants were given over a month’s notice to vacate. They were advised they need to vacate by the end of August, according to a worker at the motel.

The new owner has not yet been identified and is not yet on the Clinton County Auditor’s website, so the West Inn’s future is also not known.

Sandlin said Sugartree Ministries delivers a lot of meals and groceries to the West Inn, and he added that individual rooms there often will need five or so meals. He said a lot of people will stay in the same room at West Inn, heightening the concern of homeless advocates about the extent of the impact of the motel changing hands.

On Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 10, six of the 16 rooms were occupied, whereas usually there is roughly 80 percent occupancy (about 13 rooms), said the motel worker.

One of the main reasons that local homeless supporters became involved in a concerted response, Sandlin said, is that the “price point” of West Inn is not mirrored anywhere else in Wilmington right now.

Sandlin, together with staff at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter and at Hope House: a Safe Place for Women and Children, put together informational packets and delivered them to West Inn occupants.

The packets contain information about things such as Metropolitan Housing Authority, “rapid re-housing” and weekly-rate motels that are located in Hillsboro and Washington Court House.

Further, Sugartree Ministries or others will assist if someone needs help filing for subsidized housing or other paperwork, and also will help folks learn the best route to pursue subsidized housing, Section 8 housing, and rapid re-housing possibilities, he said.

It remains Sugartree Ministries’ practice, when somebody has a safe place to land with family or someone else, to cover transportation costs if needed — for example, Greyhound bus or airline tickets, said Sandlin.

“We would fund their relocation if they find a safe place,” he emphasized.

Sugartee Ministries will help move items, too.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

The West Inn Motel has been an option for some people facing homelessness, say local supporters of the homeless.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_west_inn_c.jpgThe West Inn Motel has been an option for some people facing homelessness, say local supporters of the homeless. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

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