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Life after the Gateway Hotel; former residents move into new homes

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- After spending about two weeks in shelters, former Gateway Hotel residents are starting to move into places of their own.

Through El Paso Countys Rapid Rehousing Program, a county program that pays former hotel residents' deposit and first months rent, about 40 people who were evicted from the hotel were given the opportunity to move into more permanent housing. 

I live on (Social Security), which is not much anyway -- its $721.  So Ive got to really stretch my money. You figure $425 plus, what, $150 deposit or $125 deposit, theres your check right there.  Theres nothing left. So its going to help definitely a lot, said Carl Davis.

Davis is one man taking advantage of the Rapid Rehousing Program.  He said hes thankful to be moving after spending 10 years living at the Gateway Hotel in downtown El Paso.

There was paint peeling off the walls, wires exposed, said Davis.
 
This weekend Davis signed a lease at Pleasant View Lodge, an apartment complex owned by the Salvation Army in central El Paso.  Hes now in the process of moving his clothes and other belongings into his new apartment.
 
Heres a little kitchen area, a little bedroom area, couch, table, said Davis.  I think Ill put some plants in here and maybe a goldfish or something like that.
 
Sunday afternoon, Davis gave KFOX14 a private tour of his new home. 
 
I'll have everything I need, said Davis.
 
Throughout the tour Davis continually mentioned how clean the complex is.
 
That place (the Gateway Hotel) was filthy, said Davis.
 
It's a new chapter in life, not only for Davis, but also the other people who were evicted from the Gateway Hotel about two weeks ago after the city shut it down for violating code. As KFOX14 reported, violations included carbon monoxide leaks, exposed electrical wires, multiple fire hazards and raw sewage leakage.

I believe its a blessing in disguise, said Mario Mendoza, the director at Recovery Alliance.

Recovery Alliance is one of four shelters where former hotel residents have been staying since the Gateway's closure.
 
Four have already moved and there's still about three more in here that are in the process of moving this week, said Mendoza.
 
But Mendoza said two people staying at the drug and alcohol rehab facility won't be leaving.
 
He's actually admitted that he some issues with alcohol and drugs, and he wants to stay for the support that we give here, said Mendoza.
 
Mendoza said a second man choosing to stay at the shelter just likes the company.
 
No matter where these former Gateway residents are starting their new lives, they said it's a real dream come true.
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