In a story that appeared on Think Progress, a couple was driving on Saturday through Columbus to Dayton and met a homeless couple in a fast food joint. The couple saw them crying in their milkshakes about not being able to get in the shelter for the night. George and Joyce Gruss paid for three nights in a motel for the two who did not have ID to check in. The Super 8 Motel in Columbus kicked the homeless couple out after the Gruss family left to get to Dayton. This was over the weekend when it was so horrible in Ohio with temperatures falling below 0 degrees and a sizable wind chill. Here is a little from the Think Progress story:
George got a call that ruined their good deed. It was a security guard at the Super 8. He said the hotel had checked on the room and when the couple couldn’t produce ID, it kicked them out. “We argued with them,” he recalled. “I told him we paid for the room.” Even though he said they were willing to risk any potential damage to the room, the guard insisted that because guests have to be 21 to stay in rooms and the couple had no identification to prove they were over that age, they couldn’t stay.
“He ended the conversation by saying, ‘Oh by the way, your repayment is not refundable,'” George said. He hadn’t cared about the money until that point. “I felt like I was robbed.”
It shows how valuable identification is for homeless people. Cleveland has a program to fund identification which is rare. It also shows how stupid Columbus is with their coordinated intake. If you cannot make it to the shelter by a certain time, you lose your bed. If the bus is late or not running because of the cold, you sleep outside. Finally, this story shows how horrible businesses are to homeless people. They get mistreated and abused by small businesses and corporations who can only see hassles with homeless people and not the humanity of kicking someone into the snow and cold. One hotel in New York City refused to house homeless families with vouchers paid by the state. They do realize that homelessness is a temporary situation, and the people offered a break will become customers the next year. Single adults in Cleveland average 15 days of homelesnsess and 50 days for families. They are not homeless for life, and should be viewed as future customers. We hope that the Super 8 chain gets a black eye from this lack of humanity. I will avoid them in my travels over the next few years.
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