KALISPELL — Extended-stay residents at the Fairbridge Inn and Suites in Kalispell are being evicted on Feb. 12 — with just 30 days' notice — due to the sale of the hotel.
Due to extremely limited housing options in the Flathead, residents and community help agencies — such as the Flathead Food Bank — are fearful of the snowball effect this sale will have on the community.
“We've seen a lot of them coming into us with nowhere to go, no options, just, just totally desperate. And there's really not much guidance and help that we can provide with a 0.4 percent vacancy rate, it's really hard to give somebody hope when it's hard to find it even ourselves," said Flathead Food Bank Executive Director Jamie Quinn.
Current Fairbridge resident Macy-Grey Lynn Sager — along with all the other extended-stay guests — received the eviction notice on Jan. 12.
“I was just kind of shocked that it was not — I didn't even know it was the hotel was up for sale. I had no idea, so I was just confused. And was having nowhere else to go and us being booted out is just honestly terrifying.” said Sager.
Fortify, a company out of Oregon, purchased the hotel with plans to develop apartment buildings. The company has discussed a potential 90-day extension to the eviction notice, but there is nothing in writing to confirm the extension. MTN News reached out to Fortify for comment, but they did not respond.
“I don't know if it's just rumor for it's actually happening and I honestly hope, have hopes that it's happening. But I guess I really won’t find out until — I guess until — that day,” explained Sager.
With only 140 beds available at warming centers in Kalispell, they cannot meet the need for beds that this eviction could cause. If the residents become homeless, they will need extra calories to keep their body temperature up, causing an extra strain on the food bank.
“Our customers who are already living with limited means and cooking facilities at the annex, they just have a micro-fridge, a microwave, and maybe a hot plate. So it's already been a struggle for them to feed themselves based on what their living accommodations are. - Flathead Food Bank Executive Director Jamie Quinn.
Many people in the community, including city council members and nonprofit leaders, are trying to advocate for the eviction extension.
“The reality is that they're neighbors, they're people that care. So just hang on with us because we are going to need everybody to help that’s willing to help,” explained Quinn.
Other news agencies are reporting that there will be no extension on the 30-day eviction notice.
MTN News has reached out to the old and new owners, multiple times, to confirm this information but has not received a response.