ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Mosley Motel shut down Monday morning, causing more than 400 residents to look for a new place to live.
The motel, located on 34th Street North, has served as housing for low-income families for decades. To Ashley Stahl and her six kids, the motel was like home.
“I’ve been moving for like two weeks now,” said resident Ashley Stahl. “And helping other people get out of here. It’s like losing family.”
Miami real estate firm Altis Cardinal bought the property from the owner after the motel went into foreclosure.
On Monday morning, Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies made sure residents followed the 8:30 a.m. deadline and showed up at the property to remind them it was time to go. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri wanted to make sure there was a smooth transition.
“This was a balance between property rights and the owner’s interest in the property, which they certainly had, and also making sure that we accomplish this in a dignified and humane and compassionate way for these people who don’t have any other place to live,” Gualtieri said.
Deputies worked with the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Social Services to meet with all remaining residents and help transition residents to alternative housing. Many residents found new residency at nearby motels, some moved in with family and friends, others sought assistance from the St. Vincent de Paul, Boley Centers Inc., and Pinellas Safe Harbor.
Animal services also came to the scene to pick up any pets that families couldn’t afford to move. The pets got seven days of free boarding.
The Sheriff described the living conditions at the motel as deplorable and dirty and sees the closure as a blessing in disguise.
“I’ll be blunt about it and tell you it’s a dump,” Gualtieri said. “People shouldn’t be living in this.”
Gualtieri applauded the collaborative effort from various different agencies to assist citizens in locating alternative housing.
“We will make sure we do this in a humane and compassionate way but we have to respect the property owner’s rights and interests in the court order,” Sheriff Gualtieri said.
After the Sheriff’s press conference, deputies assigned to the Court Processing Unit went door to door and confirmed that the Mosley Motel was completely vacant.
The motel was returned to Altis Cardinal Storage without incident.