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Homeless squatters take over a Washington Travelodge after activists booked 16 rooms on Christmas Eve - and are now refusing to leave unless the government pays their bill

 Dozens of homeless squatters have taken over a Washington state Travelodge after a group of local activists booked multiple rooms at the motel on Christmas Eve and are now demanding the government pay the bill. 

Members of Tacoma Housing Now, an advocacy group for the homeless, reserved 16 rooms at the Fife motel last Thursday when they checked in for a one-night stay. 

The rooms were used to provide shelter for residents who are experiencing homelessness in the area, however, they have failed to check out the motel since and activists are refusing to pay for the extended stay, The News Tribune reported. 

Tacoma Housing Now has been occupying 16 rooms at the Travelodge motel in Fife, Washington since Christmas Eve

Tacoma Housing Now has been occupying 16 rooms at the Travelodge motel in Fife, Washington since Christmas Eve

The homeless advocacy group booked the rooms last Thursday by paying for a one-night stay and is now demanding city and county officials foot the rest of the motel bill by using COVID-19 relief funds

The homeless advocacy group booked the rooms last Thursday by paying for a one-night stay and is now demanding city and county officials foot the rest of the motel bill by using COVID-19 relief funds

The group is now demanding the city of Tacoma or Pierce County foot the bill by using COVID-19 relief funds intended to help those in need. 

'We wanted somewhere for people to stay warm and dry and get showers and stay as safe as possible,' THN spokesperson Rebecca Parson told the publication. 

'We paid for first night - Christmas Eve - and then we are sending the bill to county and city,' she added. 

Parson explained the organization wanted to provide shelter for the homeless after five people died from exposure while living on the streets in Tacoma this year.

The group opted for the motel instead of local homeless shelters due to recent COVID-19 outbreaks at the facilities.

There are now 43 people living at the Travelodge since checking in last week, THN confirmed on Monday.

The move however has resulted in a dispute among the advocacy group, city officials and the motel manager, who has accused the city of failing to take control of the trespassers.

'I'm just devastated,' Travelodge manager Shawn Randhawa said.  

A spokesperson for the advocacy group said they wanted to provide shelter for the homeless after five people died from exposure while living on the streets in Tacoma this year

A spokesperson for the advocacy group said they wanted to provide shelter for the homeless after five people died from exposure while living on the streets in Tacoma this year


'Because of the protest, I have nothing else. I was barely getting through this pandemic, and now this. This Christmas, the Grinch came.'

Parson, however, has dismissed accusations of trespassing, saying the 'biggest crime of all is anybody dying of cold in the streets.'

Local officials say they are now hoping to resolve the issue with all three parties without having to use force on the squatters. 

Fife Police Chief Pete Fisher told the paper they are working with neighboring agencies in hopes of finding another temporary shelter for the occupants.  

However, Randhawa has claimed he is being 'kept hostage', saying the city has failed to help him and his business.

He is now threatening to abandon the motel and shut off its utilities if the situation is not resolved soon.

'I'll shut off the water and I'm not fighting with these people. I believe there should be a law,' he said.

Travelodge manager Shawn Randhawa has accused the city of failing to take action

Travelodge manager Shawn Randhawa has accused the city of failing to take action 

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