Ventura County motel closure makes many families homeless at Christmas

by nobugsonme on December 24, 2007 · 3 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs and children, bed bugs and the elderly, california, government, homelessness

Catholic Charities is one group trying to help those displaced when the Traveler’s Beach Inn was shut down due to bed bugs and electrical problems, the Ventura County Star reported Saturday.

The week before Christmas and raining, to boot, some 14 families were tipped out of a Ventura inn because of electrical hazards and an infestation of bedbugs.

— Richard Neal, his fiancée and her mother with late-stage lung cancer.

— William and Tina Kirkpatrick and their two children, 7 and 5.

— Franchine Ivans, Steve Jordan and their four children.

They are among the approximately 40 people — including about 15 children — staying in the 37-room Travelers Beach Inn told 4 p.m. Tuesday by the county Building and Safety and Health divisions that they would have to leave until the motel’s problems are fixed. It is not known when the motel might reopen, as reported by Star reporter Kevin Clerici in his Wednesday article, “Bedbugs, electrical issues force tenants from motel.”

Tenants at Travelers Beach Inn, 929 E. Thompson Blvd., pay $275 weekly rent. Although it is more costly than renting a small apartment, many can’t afford to pay first- and last month’s rent.

Whoever you are, whatever the state of your bank account, bed bugs are a burden. But they seriously worsen the already bad conditions many are living under. In this case, people who can barely make their current rent are temporarily displaced, with no means of moving to a new home.

We hear time and again of people with serious illnesses, disabilities, infirmities related to age, Alzheimer’s disease, single parents, parents of small children–all facing bed bugs. Their battle with bed bugs is not easy, or quick. If you think it’s hard for young, healthy professionals like Nicholas Brown, consider how bad it can be when the deck is stacked against you.

When people say “it’s just a bug”–well, yeah. I get that. But it can seriously wipe many people out financially, energy-wise, timewise.

We need bed bugs to be taken seriously, and for motels and other establishments to be proactive in identifying and treating problems–and educating residents about how to spot and prevent bed bugs.

And we need the government, as well as private industry, to take responsibility. Not just for shutting things down when codes are violated. But for helping avoid such drastic measures in the first place.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. The Christmas story is about a couple with no where to sleep and a baby on the way. I’ll be thinking about those homeless Travelers Beach Inn residents on Christmas.

Update (1/12/2008):

This article  says the Traveler’s Beach Inn has reopened, “pest-free” and with the other repairs done:

The motel also was thoroughly fumigated, and a health inspector says it is now free of bedbugs.

It is unclear whether the motel was actually fumigated with vikane gas, which has a high success rate as a one-off treatment (we’re told), or whether “fumigation”
is being used as a shorthand for pest control spray treatments, which often require many follow-ups.  I am not sure how well this works when people are not present.  (We do know that in serious infestations, when inspectors or others come in after the room has been vacant, bed bugs often appear, in daylight, looking for food.)

Perhaps soon housing inspectors will take advantage of bed bug dogs as an aid to doing visual bed bug inspections?

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1 nobugsonme January 12, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Updated 1/12/08.

2 nobugsonme October 15, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Almost 10 months later, the same hotel is in the news. The Ventura County Star says:

Five rooms at a Ventura motel on Thompson Boulevard were yellow-tagged this week for substandard housing violations, including bedbugs and water leaks, authorities said.

The owner of the 37-room Travelers Beach Inn agreed to move those people affected into different rooms at the motel and is cooperating with officials to get the rooms with bedbugs sprayed, said Brad Clark, a Ventura city code enforcement officer who examined the motel Monday with a Ventura County health inspector.

Inspectors came in after a complaint was filed. The original inspections last December apparently happened because:

… an angry resident who had been forced to leave the motel showed up at City Hall with a bedbug in a plastic bag and demanded an investigation.

That’s a very good way to get officials to pay attention.

3 Thee #1 Bug Man January 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

If you want to know if indeed it was “fumigated” the ag dedt and fire dept will know. It was bedbug free if the inspector saoid it was, but as people move in and out of the rooms they or new clients could have brouht them in. Vikane leaves no residual behind. In like a gas out like a gas. Good luck!Maybe they should try heat treatment. We have had great success with it. But again no residual left. See ya.

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