Tacoma Housing Now (THN) paid for 16 rooms for one overnight stay on Dec. 24 at the Travelodge and then moved in more than 40 people. Rebecca Parson, spokesperson for THN and local socialist activist, told The Post Millennial that they targeted that specific location because "…it had the cheapest rates in the area for the first night that we intended to pay for."
Parson even claimed they are bringing business to the motel by "…demanding that the city and county pay for the other nights we have been here.”
Parson indicated that the owners want them there and are happy to have them but the owners told a very different story.
"These people book it for one night, cheat me into it and now tell me that I am doing something…somebody needs to be paying for it," the Travelodge operator told KING 5.
The manager of the motel commented to The Post Millennial, "I understand their problem, but it is not Travelodge's fault. We had nothing to do with it and now this is happening to us."
THN has refused to pay for additional nights and are demanding that the city or county pay the motel bill and designate the motel a shelter, as has been done in other parts of the state. Neighboring King County rented and purchased several locations for shelters and quarantine locations for the homeless at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The homeless residents of the King County hotels have been pointed to as a source of spiking crime in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as vandalism and even arson at the hotels. The county has providing alcohol and other controlled substances to entice homeless residents not to leave locations being used as quarantine facilities.
Parson also elaborated that funds can come from defunding the police to help solve systemic racism, as the mostly-white group of activists, occupied rooms in an immigrant-owned and family-operated motel.
Since the 24th, the activists have broken into two additional rooms, bringing the occupied lodging to 18 rooms and brought in more people as well, increasing their numbers to around 60.
Parson said that there are about 15 volunteers onsite to help.
Parson said that there are people in the rooms who have "…everything from cancer to severe infections, seizures, all sorts of chronic illnesses." She also claimed they have a "medic" to help treat them. Parson did not mention that THN exposed everyone in the hotel to COVID because of their actions including the people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and chronic illnesses.
When asked how they were dealing with the substance abuse issues that come with helping a homeless population or how they were caring for people with cancer, Parsons concluded that their standards of care are up to "medic level."