By Michael Abeyta

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way Coloradans live their lives in countless ways. Many families are struggling, and a moratorium on evictions has helped many people stay in their homes.

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Those who were living at a Ramada Inn in Englewood next to Centennial Airport are now homeless because that moratorium doesn’t extend to people living in hotels.

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“We have to be out today at noon” says Sierra Marquardt.

It’s a familiar refrain for the Marquardt/Smith family. Shawn Smith and Sierra Marquardt, along with their two children, started living at the Ramada Inn after their Cherry Creek landlord unexpectedly kicked them out of their house in December 2019. They planned to be at the hotel only a few months while they found a new place to live, but then the pandemic struck.

“We have a whole two-bedroom house in here from our last house. All of our stuff,” says Shawn Smith.

Despite having to move unexpectedly and losing out on some work due to the pandemic, Shawn and Sierra have been looking for permanent housing, but haven’t had any luck.

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Sierra explains, “We’ve been actively looking for a place to live but no one is renting right now because landlords know that they can’t evict so why would they rent out?”

On Friday, they and dozens of other families are homeless because the hotel closed its doors.

“There are children. There are potentially other people who are homeless now,” said Shawn.

The Marquardt/Smith family’s future is uncertain but for the immediate future they may end up just sleeping in their car.

“I don’t know what we are going to do. I’m not sure. I mean we will have to find somewhere,” says Shawn.

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The motel is actually being sold and the new owner isn’t taking over until February 2021. Residents said the bank is taking control of the property in the meantime and is threatening arrest for anyone who doesn’t leave.

Michael Abeyta