Local Activists Working To Save Weekly Motels

Sep 7, 2018

Local activists and leaders are coming together to bring weekly motels to the forefront of Reno's housing debate. KUNR’s Paolo Zialcita reports. 

Donald Griffin lives at the Gateway Inn in downtown Reno. He recently led a tour of downtown motels with community leaders and local advocacy group ACTIONN. He said he got to share his experience with people who normally would not listen.

“We got a lot of people to see what's going on,” Griffin said. “We got to speak from our words and not just somebody that's in politics that's able to speak. They had a hands on experience with the people who actually lived it.”

As part of the tour, advocacy groups are working to capitalize on a renewed public interest to preserve Reno’s weekly motels. Several of which have been torn down in the past year, in favor of higher end developments, much to the discontent of its residents.

City councilwoman Jenny Brekhus attended the tour. She talked about the housing crisis in Reno and the role motels play in it.

“The motels have turned into, they're calling it the housing of last resort,” Brekhus said. “We've seen a lot of these tear down in the last 18 months and the tear down puts people in the shelters or the river, because it is the most affordable.” 

In 2017, The Reno Area Alliance for the Homeless found that around 4,000 people are living out of a weekly motel.