Forced-Out Villa Town Motel Guests Could Lose More Than Residency

LUBBOCK, TX - As guests of the Villa Town Motel received notices to vacate the premises, some worried they could lose more than just a place to stay.

Lubbock Meals on Wheels confirmed it delivered a daily meal to six clients staying at the motel.

"They're not just staying there for a few nights as it was intended to be a hotel," said executive director Lisa Gilliland. "This was their actual residence, and they do qualify for our services based on their disabilities, their age, things like that."

"We really don't know what's going to happen, we're going to continue to feed them as long as they're there," Gilliland explained. "There are safety issues in that area, and we completely understand that, and we agree with the decision, it's just however we don't know what this means for some of our clients or where they will end up."

In the court order forcing the business to shut down, law enforcement officials described the property as an "open air drug market," and a "hotbed of criminal activity."

Court documents detailed the burden on Lubbock Police, who responded to 1,516 calls between January 1, 2015, and April 9, 2017, and made 165 arrests in that time, records showed.

Attempts to contact the property owners in California were unsuccessful, and the on-site management declined to comment on the record.

Guests at the motel told they were concerned they would not receive their Monday rent payments back.

"Hopefully the owner will see that it would be better just to refund what's already been paid," said Tamara Duncan, managing attorney for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. The organization provides legal advice to those who cannot typically afford it.

"I think the guest or the tenant definitely could make a reasonable demand for the return of the money," Duncan stated. "Whether or not that would be immediate, would partly depend on if the owner would agree to that. If not, it would likely end up in court, perhaps with additional damages attached for the delay."

"A lot of these residents have probably paid the only money they had for shelter, but for that shelter they're unsheltered, homeless on the streets," Duncan added. "Now they don't have any money, they don't have anywhere to store their belongings potentially, and their children may have trouble getting to school."

Locations including the Salvation Army and Grace Campus said they would open their doors for guests being forced out of the Villa Town Motel.

To contact Legal Air of NorthWest Texas, click here.

To reach out to Lubbock Meals on Wheels, click here.


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