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Durham's Temporary Quarters Inn Must Send People Away

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DURHAM — People staying at Durham's Temporary Quarters Inn are packing up and moving out. The city says the hotel is unfit to live in, and the residents must leave. Many resident's don't know where they're going next.

A Durham judge ordered the hotel to shut down last week, on the recommendation of health inspectors. Owner Ronnie Sturdivant defied the order by staying open, saying he was unfairly singled out.

Sturdivant defied the judge's order for a week. Wednesday he told all the residents to be out by Friday. Sturdivant says he will re-open, but did not offer specifics.

"I don't have the answers to that right now, but it'll happen, and it'll happen sooner than most people think," Sturdivant said.

Most people who called Temporary Quarters home are people on the edge of homelessness. The people forced to move have little money, little credit and few options.

"Most of the people here have no place to go," hotel resident Rickey King explained. "Everybody around here is trying to find some place to go. Some people are talking about going to stay down in the shelters, but I don't even know what's going on."

As local government fights with ownership over the hotel, some caught in the middle do not even understand. Ritchie Cates, 8, lived there with his parents and two sisters. Now the whole family has to go.

"I don't know, because they say they are fighting for their rights," said Cates. "I'd rather stay here, because it's nice over here."

Shelters often break up families, and many other housing options are too expensive. Social Services is trying to help those who are displaced.

Sturdivant says he is just trying to serve this needy population. But county officials say his permit has been revoked, and they cannot let someone operate under those conditions. The matter goes to court next week.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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