- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - First, her voice cracked and then tears rolled down her cheeks. Hope Hansen took her glasses off and wiped her moist eyes as she sat in her wheelchair in a Budget Inn motel room Wednesday morning.

Only the light shining through the window prevented total darkness in room No. 134.

The electricity was turned off about 9:50 a.m. at the motel to the surprise of Hansen and other tenants. The electricity was turned back on nearly six hours later, but by that time, Hansen made other arrangements.

“I’ve had enough of this place. I’m not going through this again,” Hansen told The Star Press (https://tspne.ws/1gLGErQ ).

Last Thursday, Building Commissioner Craig Nichols declared the Budget Inn a dangerous structure and ordered the motel to be vacated within 10 days and then be demolished.

The 65-year-old wheelchair confined Hansen moved into the motel two months ago with her 46-year-old son Eddie Good.

She intended to move out this weekend, but she decided against that option Wednesday morning as she sat in the dark motel room.

“I don’t know what to do,” said Hansen, wearing a white New York Yankees T-shirt and red sweats in a room notably cooler just 30 minutes after the electricity was turned off. “I’m at a loss. . You’ll probably find us under a bridge tomorrow.”

Hansen gasped for air as she sobbed. But her tears of sorrow soon turned into tears of joy.

As if on cue, Budget Inn housekeeper Brandy Koons rushed in and told Hansen she found a place for the group to stay. Hansen put her left hand to her forehead, and Good said, “Thank God” as the mood in the room changed from somber to euphoric.

Vinod Gupta, a property investor who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., heard about their plight and told Muncie real estate investment adviser Fakhr Joseph to offer the group two of his houses for free for the rest of April and then $500 a month moving forward.

Gupta only asks that they put the electric and water bills in their names for the remainder of the month.

“We wanted to help as much as we could,” Joseph said. “We all every once in a while get in a bind.”

The 31-year-old Koons arranged for three of her children, boyfriend Brett McDonald, Hansen and Good to live with her in the three-bedroom house on North Walnut Street, and for Jack Monroe, his girlfriend Kristina Padgett and their children to move into the two-bedroom East 16th Street property. Monroe and Padgett rented the motel room next to Koons and McDonald for $170 a week.

“You’ve got to stick together in hard times like this,” Koons said.

Hansen and her son paid a monthly fee of $485 for their room at the Budget Inn.

She said she is financially strapped until the first week of May. The widow lives off Social Security and a survivor benefit. She receives both the first week of each month. Her son, Eddie, receives a disability paycheck in that same time frame.


Information from: The Star Press, https://www.thestarpress.com

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