Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A diabetic Vietnam veteran and his wife go into a homeless shelter after given only hours to get out of their room. They're one of several long term hotel guests scrambling to find a place to stay from now until after golf week. Our I-Team exposed the problem last year. Now, it appears it is happening again.
Three tours in Vietnam, two types of insulin and 22-years of marriage but the only number that matters at this moment is three. Three is the number of hours this wife and her diabetic
husband have to move out of their hotel room. "Today they told us to go ahead and check out today."
We are not telling you their names or showing you their faces because she worries it may impact her job. For the past year, the couple has lived in the back portion of a hotel near Washington Road. "Masters isn't until April....I figured I had a few more weeks to figure out what in the world I am going to do?" They certainly didn't expect to booted out the first week in March with little to no notice.
Another long term guest at the hotel was also caught off guard. "They just told me I had to go. There was nothing more than that." He also didn't want us to tell you his name or show you his face. "There are a lot of families that stay in motels like this because its what they can afford." He stays here because of convenience.
The Vietnam veteran and his wife live in the hotel because it is all they can afford. "It is cheaper for me because I don't have light bill phone or water. I also can walk to work from here," his wife told us. "Coming around this time of year you are no longer important they put you out they put you out to make room for the money."
Unlike other states, long term residents in hotels are not legally protected in Georgia. State law only requires the hotel to give notice equal to the time for which the occupancy is paid. For example if a guest pays weekly then the hotel is required to give a week notice. Pay daily then a day notice. About a week or two ago, the long term guests at the hotel say the owner stopped accepting weekly payments. They could only pay by the day.
"They live off of our backs most of the year until the Masters people come and then they kick us out like dogs," the veteran's wife said. "There are kids running around out here after school and stuff I see and hear them all the time. Where are these kids going? Where are these families going?" the other guest told us. He is staying at friends for the next few weeks.
The veteran and his wife aren't as lucky. "Everything we go through we go through together or we don't go and that's the rule and that's our rule...together or we don't go." One is the number of emergency shelters in Augusta for both men and women. Two is the number of hours they have before check in closes at the Salvation Army. They were able to get into another Washington Road hotel the following day but the clock is ticking. They know they will most likely have to leave there too.
The Augusta-Richmond County spokesperson told us they have put a hold on a county facility which can be used as an emergency shelter during golf week.