Police help to remove remaining Welcome Inn residents – Herald-Whig

QUINCY Galen Richardson, who had been living at the Welcome Inn on and off for the last three years, was at the recently closed housing facility Wednesday morning to pack his belongings into a U-Haul truck.

Richardson said the dilemma he and other residents face is having their personal belongings disposed of by the property owners if they are not removed from the premises within 24 hours.

They think they can steal peoples possessions, Richardson said.

Richardson and the remaining handful of Welcome Inn residents safely vacated the property on Wednesday with the assistance of the Quincy Police Department and representatives of Clarity Healthcare.

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup announced the closure of the Welcome Inn on Tuesday due to a series of structural issues that are rendering the building uninhabitable.

These are people that deserve safe housing, they are paying rent to a property owner and they should not be forced to be in unsafe, unstable conditions, Troup said.

Quincy Deputy Police Chief Shannon Pilkington said 82 of the 102 units were occupied at the time of the closure but only a couple of residents remained by 11:45 a.m. Wednesday morning when officers arrived.

Were just making sure everybodys out because at one point the hotel will deactivate all the doors so nobody can get back in and out and I assume that the water and the power will be shut off, Pilkington said. So we want to make sure that everybody has a place to stay today.

The Rev. Tony Metz of Luther Memorial Church was one of several volunteers on hand to assist Welcome Inns remaining residents with packing up their belongings.

Metz said some of the remaining residents are elderly and volunteers are trying to get their things into safe storage and connect them with the Multi-Agency Resource Center at 1016 Vermont.

Its just overwhelming and its really really really disappointing to see that there are representatives of the Welcome Inn here who are treating these people horribly and inhumanely, Metz said.

Police had anticipated that not everyone would be able to move out the day the closure announced but Pilkington said that so far, no one has refused to leave.

If somebody did refuse to leave, we are not going to physically remove them, Pilkington said. We will have to go through the court process and get a court order to have them removed but we have not made it to that point and it appears that were not going to have to do that fortunately.

About 10 animals living at Welcome Inn were taken to the Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic and will be vaccinated and sheltered for up to seven days on the citys dime, Pilkington added. Animals that have not been picked up by then will be up for adoption.

Pilkington recommended that residents who still have belongings they wish to take from their units call the United Way of Adams County. Officers will then be on hand to make sure peoples items are recovered.

The living conditions of the Welcome Inn have been scrutinized for months, with complaints ranging from trash accumulation to exposed wiring to stairways and balconies that pose a real and imminent risk to the life safety of occupancy.

After multiple notices were sent, city inspectors discovered in January that very little work had been work to keep the building in compliance with the city code and additional failures had occurred since the last inspection.

A former resident of the Welcome Inn who lived there for one week earlier this year called the experience terrible. In addition to bed bugs and cockroaches, the resident said there was no hot water.

Its the worst place I will live in my life, the resident said.

Although the resident was able to move out and find a room at Quincy Inn, multiple calls to the Welcome Inn landlords regarding the conditions went unanswered and for most people, there was nowhere else to go during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were too busy trying to get away from there, the resident said. We knew we didnt belong there.

Chelsea Hubbard, a managing attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, said her firm has referred a few residents to an attorney, who is reviewing the situation. Some residents are seeking damages while other are just interested in repairs.

However, Hubbard said she is trying to manage the situation without legal action.

We just want to improve the situation and not litigate unnecessarily, Hubbard said.

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Police help to remove remaining Welcome Inn residents - Herald-Whig

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