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Motel Dwellers Say They Were Evicted To Make Room For Homeless Housing

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L.A. County was all set to purchase its 10th vacant hotel and convert the property into housing for the homeless as part of California's new Project Homekey program, but there was one minor problem: the Studio 6 motel in Commerce wasn't vacant.

Earlier this month, after the motel owner kicked everyone out, dozens of occupants claimed they'd been living in the motel for months — or even years — and were being forced into homelessness.

Several families believe they were illegally evicted and denied rights like relocation fees. Others say they were locked out of their rooms or that management didn't give them any notice about the sale.

"It's an irony," said activist Patty Chavez. "I mean, you have to leave families homeless in order for you to house the homeless? Why don't you work together with these families, get them a room or place these families elsewhere so you can start the program?"

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Now, county officials have delayed the sale, while they sort out if occupants have rights of residency — and if not, where they will go.

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