KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homeless for the holidays. More than 30 families were displaced Wednesday morning after the Kansas City Missouri Health Department shut down the KC Travel Inn, located at 6006 East 31st Street. The health department cited multiple health code violations, but the owner said his inn is safe.
The deadline for residents to move out came at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Kansas City, Mo., swat members went door-to-door clearing the motel.
Resident Protachea Willis said she’s lived at the Travel Inn for the past three months and that she has nowhere else to go. She said she didn’t even have time to pack her belongings. But the health department said it gave the inn owner and residents plenty of notice.
“It shouldn’t be news to them,” said Health Department Manager Bert Malone. “It’s certainly not news to the management that we were concerned about health code violations at this facility. It has been an ongoing issue for the last 16, 18 months.”
Malone said the inn is unsafe and infested with rodents, bed bugs and roaches. It also has significant fire and safety code violations. After working with the inn for more than a year to clean it up, Malone said the Health Department had no choice but to close it. Owner Narendra Sharma admits one or two rooms may have problems but says the health department has no right to shut the whole place down.
“Absolutely, absolutely incorrect,” he said. “It’s a family run business. You see my son? And his family out here? You think we’re going to let our kids stay here in an unsafe place?”
Sharma said 31 families were forced to leave. Some now say they’re homeless. Willis said she plans to stay in a shelter. Others said they’ll spend the night with family and friends. Sharma said he’s angry about the health department’s decision and said he will go after the city for damages.
“They have damaged me, there’s no more damage they can do to me,” he said. “This is done.”