DENVER — Ragen Atkinson, Eddie Walker and their two kids are without a home after a dispute with managers at Motel 9 on Colfax about the electricity in their room that had been out for nearly a week.
After more than three months at the motel, they are now on the street.
"I'm still mad, still upset," said Eddie Walker, who is now looking for a new place to live. "You just cant win out here."
Walker and Atkinson moved to Colorado from South Carolina over the summer for a better life. Looking for an affordable place to live, they found Motel 9 that charged them $450 per week to stay.
"I actually moved here for a better life, but that's gone," Walker said. "I am not getting what I am paying for."
The power went out on Nov. 24. Walker was at work at the Denver International Airport when Atkinson called him.
"My wife called me. She says that the lights are flickering. Thirty minutes later, lights are off," Walker said. "Nobody never fixed it."
The family was forced to siphon power from a neighbors room to run the air conditioning. Everything else was in the dark. Management at Motel 9 sent several electricians, but the power never got turned back on.
On Tuesday after the story aired, the family left Motel 9 because of a dispute with managers over the power and the story.
"They came, and they basically said, 'either you have the money or you have to leave,'" Walker said. "So, we left."
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Now, with just the clothes on their backs, they are trying to find a new home. They found a new hotel for the night, but they're worried that come tomorrow, the cycle will start over again.
"It is like we are still stuck. We paid for [a new] room," Walker said. "But what about 10 o'clock in the morning at check out time? Then we got to figure it all out again."
Advocates with the East Colfax Community Collective say this problem continues to persist as vulnerable families struggle to find stable housing in Denver and Aurora.
"They've literally run out of options," said Kelsey Clark, the director of special projects at the East Colfax Community Collective. "We must fight for better and bolder policies that protect our community members, especially for renters."
To help Atkinson and Walker get back on their feet, a fund has been set up through Denver7 Gives. Anyone who would like to help can click here and select "Help for the Atkinson Family" in the dropdown menu.
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