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Motel set for demolition causes frustration for tenants

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WAOW)-- The Point Motel in Stevens Point is being torn down leaving tenants that rent rooms there frustrated at having to find a new place to live.

The city says it has options for the folks living at the motel but many residents said because of their past histories, finding a new home isn't as easy as the city is making it out to be.

"We're kind of being forgotten here and that's the problem," Motel resident Scott Szerlong said.

The motel has long been a source of housing for low-income residents or those on parole.

"A lot of us are parolees and we have to get a new place approved which is proving to be very difficult. That's a whole other issue," Szerlong said.

The city has been planning on demolishing and redeveloping the area for years and have finally gotten the details worked out to get the demolition started. Though residents are frustrated at having to move, a city official said the motel was never meant to be a long-term solution.

"It's not a permanent residence for them. It is a temporary residence for them to reside," Stevens Point Director of Community Development Ryan Kernosky said.

He said the city is working with the local Salvation Army as well as other organizations to help find the tenants new housing.

"Trying to find them alternative housing is going to be a top priority not only for the city but for the current landlords as well," Kernosky said.

The Stevens Point Salvation Army said they are ready and willing to help.

"I'm really impressed with our community. We have some landlords that are willing to work with those folks. We also work closely with the probation officer because there's criteria that those homes have to meet," Director of the Stevens Point Hope Center Ed Wilson said.

He also said he enjoys the opportunity to help others and give them a second chance.

"Our center is called the Hope Center so I think it speaks loudly for me of what our place is all about, the Salvation Army here in Stevens Point, we want to bring hope," Wilson said.

The city said demolition of the motel should begin sometime this summer. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army said they are working hard to make sure all of the residents have a new place to live.

Brittany Slaughter

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