The Closing of Providence Suites
Bobbia Brown, 51, smokes a cigarette as she talks about her concerns for the future with other residents Wednesday at the Providence Suites motel, which closes next week. People moved there for a variety of reasons, and for most of them it’s a last resort. Some have criminal records, poor rental histories or both. Others have bad credit. Despite the myriad problems at the motel, tenants said they’re comfortable living there.
From left, Deborah Cheatum stands with Bobbia Brown and Brown’s 9-month-old granddaughter, Tawanda Kennedy, Wednesday as they watch Brown’s grandson Trey Kennedy Jr., 2, throw a ball around the parking lot at Providence Suites. Of the 60 units at the motel 26 units were rented long-term as of last week. Several of the residents are families, many of them headed by single mothers and some with multiple children as young as a few months.
From left, Trey Kennedy Sr. holds his 9-month-old daughter, Tawanda, as Nicole Johnson puts a bike helmet on her son Vance Johnson, 7, Wednesday at Providence Suites. Johnson and her two sons have lived at the motel for several months; Johnson worries about whether she will find another place to live before the motel closes next week. “There’s a lot of families that stay out here. It turned into a little community,” she said.
Bobbia Brown chases her grandson Trey Kennedy Jr., 2, Wednesday so he doesn’t run over the curb. Brown recently found a room to rent in St. Louis County, but she doesn’t want to leave her four children and seven of her nine grandchildren, who all live in Boone County. “I got a place, but what about them?” Brown said. “I feel like I’m abandoning them. … Come the 30th, what are these people going to do?”
Sara Browns, left, talks with her niece Starr Patrick, 4, right, as her goddaughter Veronica Sinclair, 15, holds Browns’ 9-month-old baby Russell Browns on Wednesday at the Providence Suites hotel.
Scott Teal, 55, shows his notebook filled with contacts of other places to live along with cost-of-living factors, Wednesday at Providence Suites.
Ethan White, 55, calls various places he can stay for temporary housing Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in the lobby at Providence Suites. Though White had found a mobile home he planned on buying, he cancelled the process after getting word current residents of the motel were going to be able to stay past the closing date of May 1. However, the information he received was wrong and White was left looking for temporary places to stay until he could find permanent housing. White has lived at the motel for more than three years.
Scott Teal, 55, watches TV on Wednesday in his room at Providence Suites. Most of his belongings are in bags or boxes.
Sara Browns packs her clothes in boxes Wednesday as she prepares for her move from Providence Suites to Green Hills Mobile Home Park north of Columbia.
From left, Sara Browns moves a mattress out of her room with the help of her goddaughter Veronica Sinclair, 15, friend Christy Gray and son Keith Mosely IV, 6, at Providence Suites on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Browns, who has lived at the hotel with her children since July 2012, moved to Green Hills Mobile Home Park in Columbia.
From left, Sara Browns moves furniture out of her room at Providence Suites as her son Keith Mosely IV, 6, ties his shoes on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
Sara Browns looks at the floor as she carries the last of her belongings when moving out of her room at Providence Suites on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
Yvette Cowans and resident Ethan White take pictures of a rainbow on Wednesday, April 30 at Providence Suites before all residents must be out of the motel May 1.
Ethan White cooks a batch of chicken wings and pig snouts for one of his last meals on Wednesday, April 30 at Providence Suites before all residents must be out of the motel May 1. White has lived at the motel for three years and though he still hasn’t found a permanent place to live he says constantly thinking about the uncertainty doesn’t do him any good and so he tries to keep smiling.