Motel residents voice concerns about affordable housing options

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Affordable housing is a growing problem for people living in Reno. During a community event Thursday night, displaced locals voiced their concerns about the city demolishing more and more motels.

"We're not a bunch of skuzzy losers, we're not prostitutes, we're not drug dealers, we're not alcoholics, we're not low lifes, we are members of the community," says motel resident Charlie Stokes.

Stokes is retired and has been living at the Desert Rose Inn for the past four years. With many motels being demolished in downtown, he, along with a handful of other event speakers, are concerned that they won't have a place to live soon.

"The problem is that we are all worried now; we're all worried that this is going to get torn down just like all the other motels."

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve went to the event. She says there are some great motel operators in the city.

"But there are some that aren't, and some that are slum lords, and we want to be able to protect people that are vulnerable from those kinds of conditions."

The Motel Inspection Program is an ordinance that residents say is causing owners to hike up rent prices, but Schieve says it's a move to hold motel owners accountable.

"So that people won't be taken advantage of. It's not fair that they don't have running water and moldy conditions, and I want to send a clear message that if you’re operating a motel like that it won't be acceptable."

Although it may be necessary due to safety reasons to demolish the motels, displaced locals say they are mentally preparing to leave the Biggest Little City.

"I love Reno. I don't want to leave, but if I am forced to, I am just going to have to find a cheaper town to live in,” says Stokes.