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OPHS provides rent assistance to residents being evicted from west side hotel

Oyo Hotel resident looks down from second floor
Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 18:47:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents of a hotel on the west side are worried about not having a roof over their heads.

This comes after the owner tried to evict dozens of them without giving notice.

"Our mission is to keep people from becoming homeless and keep them from eviction," Andrew Merkley, Administrator of Homelessness Policy and Eviction Prevention said.

It's all hands on deck for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety.

Crews from across the city including IndyGo, Wheeler Mission, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, peacemakers, and more are helping protect dozens of residents at the Oyo Hotel after the owner allegedly cut off the utilities and sent them packing on Thursday.

"When they cut the power off, they sent people in a loop of panic because people need electricity, oxygen and sure enough it's hot," Eddie Withers said.

"On top of that, their utilities had been shut off and it was 96 degrees outside so kind of a chaotic situation. We immediately started desolating then resources started coming," Dane Nutty, President and CEO of Indy Public Safety said.

Residents pay in advance, which is why the city says a 30-day eviction notice must be given before kicking them out.

"Indiana Legal Services advise that without a formal eviction from a judge these folks don't have to leave the hotel. I encourage residents to reach out to Indiana Legal Services and submit an intake form so they can be made aware of their legal rights and figure out what's next for them," Merkley said.

Managers, Mary Spears and Kathy Fugate say the owner claims the property is under new management.

"I was at the front desk working and he comes in and said 'This is your new boss,' and the new boss looked and said you're done," Spears said.

"Then he called yesterday and told me to get Mary, to go get everybody out. They have to leave the property and he’s shutting the lights off and he did. He shut them off within an hour," Fugate said.

Marion County Assessor records show YAS Investment LLC. owns Oyo Hotel.

The property is also registered to a hotel off Keystone Avenue.

WRTV called, emailed, and went to the property looking for answers.

The email provided on the LLC's website which is located in Dubai, bounced back.

The owner was not on-site and did not answer the phone.

"I'm just lost," Spears said. "We are trying to help these people because they’re like family. It just breaks my heart that he would do that to people, elderly, kids he doesn’t give a s***."

Families living at the hotel said they don't know what the future holds and can't afford to move anywhere else.

"It's not easy to find apartments and housing. All the other hotels are at least $100 a night," Miller said.

"It's either living here or living in my truck," resident Robert Lawn said.

The city says it's doing all it can to keep these residents off the streets.

OPHS will be on-site through at least June 24, helping residents apply for Indy rent assistance.

"The message I want them to know is, there is a group of people that are here to serve in situations like this, not only be there like last night when it was going down but for days and weeks to come," Nutty said.

Citizens Energy tells WRTV it has been in communication with the property owner and does not plan to shut off the water.

WRTV also reached out to AES to see why the electricity was shut off.

We are still waiting to hear back.