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Hotel Building in Benton Condemned, Tenants Forced out

BENTON — People who live at the Hotel Hess building in Benton, Columbia County are in shock. Some have already moved out of their apartments on Main Stree...

BENTON -- People who live at the Hotel Hess building in Benton, Columbia County are in shock.

Some have already moved out of their apartments on Main Street. Others have not even begun to pack their things.

"If I get throwed out, [I'll] go to my mother's 'til I get some place to go," said tenant Joe Hess.

The building was condemned this week.

County housing officials said the place is infested with bedbugs and there may be other problems, too.

They said there have been ongoing issues with the building for years and this is the final straw.

"I'm disabled and I have to get out of here and I don't know where to go. I've got very little family left and they can't help me. I don't know what to do," said tenant Millard Kreamer.

There are about a dozen people who live at the building, a place some locals call "the hotel."

Some told Newswatch 16 their apartments were fine. Others say they know about the bedbug infestation and have the bites to prove it.

"I'm gonna use the money in my savings and probably stay down at the bed and breakfast and I guess that's the way it's gonna be," said Louis DeLuca, another resident who called the condemnation "emotional."

The head of the Columbia County Housing Authority said for those people who do not have family to stay with or some other location to go, county officials will work with them to try to get them the services they need when they have to get out.

"I'm just like disgusted because I feel as though they shouldn't have to move out so fast, you know? There's kids, there's babies, and where they gonna put their food? Where are they gonna put their furniture? It's sickening. It's really sickening," said Kevin Brown of Benton.

Newswatch 16 tried to contact the owner of the building, but was unsuccessful.

The tenants have been told to be out by midnight Friday night.