LANCASTER, S.C. — Families who were living at a Lancaster hotel said they were given less than a day's notice to vacate the building.
Families living at the Carriage Inn on North Main Street south of Highway 9 were reportedly told on Wednesday they would have to vacate the property by Thursday at 5 p.m.
Regina Zaremba said she and her fiancé said they felt like if they had a 48-hour notice, then maybe they could have scrambled to put something together. But that wasn't given.
"You know, I was just ripped out of my home," Zaremba, who said she has lived at the Carriage Inn with her fiancé for two months, said. "I lived there. That was what I called home."
WCNC Charlotte was not able to verify the exact number of families impacted, but witnesses say it could be as many as 20.
"I don't have enough money to do this," Zaremba admitted. "None of us do."
A copy of the eviction paperwork obtained by WCNC Charlotte shows the company operating the Carriage Inn, Indus Hospitality Group, received notice to vacate on Feb. 23 for failing to pay more than $10,000 in rent and property taxes.
Another man, who didn't want to be identified, said he has three children with him under the age of 10, and he doesn't have the resources to find another place to stay.
"No vacancy, or if you do find something, I can only pay for one day," he shared.
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He agreed with Zaremba that if he had more notice, he could have tried to find a new home for him and his children.
"Somebody has to speak up for people that don't believe they have a voice in the system," Tindall Yarborough, a concerned citizen who believes agencies are not doing enough to help the families impacted, said.
According to the families, one representative from the Lancaster Area Coalition for the Homeless (LACH) did come out to speak to the families on Wednesday, but Yarborough said that was not enough information or help.
"Each agency just says 'Call this one; call that one'," Yarborough explained. "It makes me very, very angry."
The United Way of Lancaster County, which is a member of LACH, said it will work with displaced families. However, the agency said its funding for emergency housing is limited, and it can’t use money set aside for other areas without prior approval.
“We have decided to prioritize how we’re going to assist the family if they need assistance," Holly Furr, the executive director of the United Way of Lancaster County, said. "It’ll be disabled, elderly, families with children, and then single individuals – and that’s just how we have to prioritize it.”
When WCNC Charlotte tried to contact Indus Hospitality LLC, their associated phone numbers were disconnected.
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WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.