AURORA | For close to three years, Mike Alexander has called the King’s Inn on East Colfax Avenue home — even if he doesn’t give it an especially strong review.
Maybe a half a star on a five-star scale, Alexander said this week.
“Now they want five-star rates for a half-star room,” he said outside the rundown, four-story motel near Colfax and Peoria Street. “It’s truly ridiculous.”
Alexander is one of dozens of longtime residents at King’s who say new ownership suddenly jacked up the rates last week — in his case, his rent skyrocketed from $225 a week to $455 — forcing families and longtime residents to search for other housing options.
And the advocates who work on behalf of low-income Aurora families say the crisis at King’s is part of a bigger problem: In an expensive housing market, there aren’t as many East Colfax motels as there once was, and what’s left is often too pricey to serve as the sort of makeshift, temporary shelter the more seedy motels once were.
“We need more low-income housing, everyone is aware of that,” said Shelley McKittrick, Homelessness Program director for the city of Aurora.
Even before the rate hike, McKittrick said a city committee had been working for months to try to move families out of places like King’s and into more-stable housing — specifically a home where they had a lease and the sorts of protections that kind of contract affords.
But when rates at King’s jumped up it put city staff and other advocates for the homeless in crisis mode, she said.
“We want to get these families out of these motels in a non-urgent way,” she said….
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