Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Friday, November 26, 2004

Shelter evicts homeless for not following rules

By the Associated Press

Published November 23, 2004

SUFFOLK, Va. -- The 17 tenants of Suffolk's Shelter for the Homeless were evicted Tuesday after the director said they were not living up to the shelter's rules of behavior.

The evictions came one day before a planned one-day closing for Thanksgiving. They put out six women and their 11 children, and forced Suffolk officials to scramble to find a place for the evicted families to stay during the holidays.

"We didn't hear about it until today," said Leonard Horton, director of Suffolk's Department of Social Services, said Tuesday. "In a situation like this, our concern is with the children. We need to make sure they're safe."

The children range in age from 3 months to 16 years old.

This is the second time in five years that the shelter, which is privately owned, has evicted all of its tenants.

The tenants received eviction letters Monday, said Terry Miller, the shelter's executive director. They were first notified about the holiday closing Nov. 1 and were reminded about the closing last week, she said.

"We have heard zippo about anyone saying all of a sudden they didn't have anywhere to go until we told them they had to leave our premises," said Miller.

But Stavina Freeman, who was among those evicted, said she had told shelter officials she had no safety net.

City officials asked Miller on Tuesday afternoon to reconsider the expulsions, Horton said. But Miller said the women wore out their welcome when they became abusive last weekend.

"These people have consciously decided not to follow our rules, and we just can't take care of people who cannot or refuse to help take care of themselves."

The women claimed the evictions came without warning and were timed simply to let staffers at the shelter have a holiday.

City Social Services workers found lodging for the families at a hotel downtown.


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