Stand Off Raises Questions about Homeless Woman Involved in Shooting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/7/04

Stand Off Raises Questions about Homeless Woman Involved in Shooting

"I can remember a couple of times here," says manager of Colonial Storage, Jimmy Goddord.

"In the past 9 years we've caught one," says Michael Postar, owner of Affordable storage.

Both Jimmy and Michael manage several storage facilities in Lubbock. They say finding unexpected guests living inside storage units doesn't happen often, but it does happen. "In the last 10 years, it's happened 3 or 4 times. I don't know why. I guess they don't have another place to go. It's cheap rent," says Jimmy.

"When you have this many units and so many people renting units it's going to happen," says Michael.

Fay Ralston - Hard Times on the Streets
Fay Ralston has been dealing with homelessness for 10 years.

And most storage facilities say they find people living in units about the size, of a 10 by 10 or even smaller. Jimmy says he's seen evidence in the past when someone turned one of his storage units into a makeshift apartment. "You usually see a cot or a mattress or something, maybe even a TV."

But most units have no electricity, water or heat. These business owners say living inside them is not only unsafe, it's against policy. "It actually states what you can and can't do," says Michael.

In fact the policy at Affordable Storage specifically states a tenant may not store under any circumstances any living creature or organism.

"This is for storage, you cannot live in it," says Michael.

"That's not allowed under our policies or our written rental agreement but from time to time they sneak around and do something like that," says Jimmy.

NewsChannel 11 spoke to 50 storage facilities in the Lubbock area. Ten of them said they have found people living in their units at least once. So how do they stop this? Unlike this storage facility, many of them are fenced in, have gates that lock and some storage facilities have gone so far as to install surveillance cameras to keep an eye on who's coming and going 24 hours a day.

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