HCDE helps students displaced after motel shutdown

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Students and their families had to find a new place to live after the Economy Inn was padlocked and the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office called it a public nuisance.

The Economy Inn is boarded up with a note on the door letting residents know where they can go for help.

On Wednesday, the motel was padlocked after the direct attorney’s office called it a nuisance. Twelve Hamilton County students had to find another place to live. The school district has a team to help students who are struggling.

“The Opportunity Zone is 12 schools that we have identified as having the most opportunity to improve. So students from our schools tend to be from the urban areas with most low income families and just lots of challenges there,” said Jill Levine, Chief of the Opportunity Zone for the Hamilton County Department of Education.

People with the opportunity zone were on hand at the motel to see how they could help.

“We tried to assemble things like clothes and toiletries and we tried to make sure that we had counselors on site at each school and just a plan for Wednesday morning so that we could be prepared to as this unfolded,” Levine said.

All of the students currently have shelter.

“So today we are following up with each of the families to make sure that they do have a place to stay and to get a list of needs if there are specific things that they need in the interim. We have social workers and counselors working with the kids, working with the families just to make sure we are providing every possible support,” Levine said.

When kids have rough situations at home it can be more difficult for them to focus on the classroom.

“Are the children well socially, are they well emotionally, are they fed, are they clothed, all of those types of needs, in addition to our they learning to read, and write and do math,” Levine said.

The owners of the motel are expected to be in court on Monday.


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