Some Branson weekly-rent motel tenants can't pay rent, forced to leave

BRANSON, MO.. -- Stay-at-home orders are having a ripple effect on people who count on tourism to pay their rent. Many people are losing their homes in extended-stay motels in Branson because federal protections don't count for places like hotels.

"Have a heart. It's not all about money, especially in a pandemic," Jami Anderson said.

Branson currently has a lot of closed businesses, very few jobs, and some people say local motel owners and managers have no compassion.

"Just yesterday I only owed $11 and they said if I didn't have that $11 I would have to get out," One anonymous motel tenant said.

The tenant lives in an extended-stay motel along the Branson strip.

"I'm at a loss because right now I have no money coming in. None," the tenant said.

She's one of many people who can't afford rent right now, but many managers are telling them either pay or get out. That leaves families with nowhere to go adding to the problem of homelessness in Branson.

"It's bad. They don't have cars. They don't have food. They don't have diapers. I mean, they don't have it," Jami Anderson said.

Anderson runs a small ministry that tries to help.

"The laws need to be changed to where these people have rights," Anderson said.

While some federal protections are in place for people who can't pay rent, that doesn't apply to hotels and motels. There is no local protection for these people either.

"We paid for somebody that lived here for three years on Sunday," Anderson said.

Anderson says some people are joining her in keeping a roof over people's heads, the same people who keep Branson's main industry running.

"I love to work. I don't want someone to pay my bills," the tenant said.

"They're what keeps the heart beating. They are the cooks, the waitresses, the waiters, the busboys," Anderson said.

However, she says, the longer the pandemic lasts the more of those people will be on the streets.

"God will have to do a miracle," Anderson said.

Under the city's stay-at-home law, motels are considered essential business. That's partly because many people live in motels in Branson long-term. So, they are allowed to stay open.

Anyone who would like to help Jami help people living in extended stay motels can email kajunkleaning@gmail.com.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.