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Homeless men made to leave Independence hotel

Homeless to be moved out of Independence hotel

Sharif Omara, the hotel’s owner, said they’ve supported the homeless men for months and “we cannot let them leave this way.”

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Emergency shelter operations due to the pandemic will end Thursday for more than 100 homeless people who have been staying at the Ramada Inn in Independence.

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) says 52 of those men plan to refuse to leave today because they feel unsafe with concerns of the highly contagious delta variant. They’re asking the county to honor the original contract date of Aug. 31. Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) – who Cuyahoga County pays to house the men – has been using the Ramada as a men’s shelter since April.

NEOCH will host a 9 a.m. press conference at the Ramada to show solidarity with those who are refusing to leave. We plan on streaming that event live inside this story.

RELATED: Homeless individuals to be moved out of Independence Ramada

Last month, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish had told 3News that Independence Mayor Gregory Kurtz gave the county until mid-July to make other housing plans for the homeless who were living at the Rockside Road hotel. The decision came after the city’s mayor pointed out an Ohio law.

“You can’t have a person staying in a hotel room for more than 30 days,” Budish said at the time.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry gave the following statement to 3News earlier this week: “Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry expects to leave the Ramada Inn in Independence on July 15. The transition plan will relocate the men from the Ramada to the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside, which is being modified to comply with COVID safety protocols.”

3News’ January Keaton previously reported that the hotel’s manager, Elizabeth White, says she is “very upset” with the decision to move the homeless while explaining how the hotel stayed in line with the law.

“Every 28 days we moved every man that was staying there,” White said. “We took everyone out of the rooms, we cleaned all the rooms, and gave them a different new room. We tried every option available.”

White said neither county nor city officials were willing to change their decision.

Sharif Omara, the hotel’s owner, said they’ve supported the homeless men for months and “we cannot let them leave this way.”

“They have the right, as humans, to have a safe and comfortable place to stay,” Omara said in a press release from NEOCH. “It is dangerous and inhumane to throw everyone into 2100 Lakeside Ave. We believe this will definitely increase COVID-19 amongst the homeless population as most of them have yet to be fully vaccinated.”

RELATED: Independence Ramada to soon stop housing homeless, due to Ohio law

Editor’s note: Video in the player above was originally published June 11, 2021.

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