Family: Discrimination forces them to leave hotel

January 9, 2013 3:24:49 PM PST
The family of a child who is undergoing treatment at Duke Hospital says they are being forced to pack up and find another place to stay during the girl's treatment because of poor conditions at their current hotel.

Last week ABC11 introduced you to Kim Harris and her daughter Victoria.

Kim claims she and her five-year-old daughter are being harassed by hotel staff as a result of the little girl's medical condition. Victoria takes three trips each week to Duke Hospital to deal with the cancerous tumor growing in her brain.

Last Friday, ABC11 was at the Day's Inn on Hillsborough Road in Durham where the family has been staying while they're away from their Charlotte home. The hotel promised Kim and Victoria they would have full access to all amenities.

Since then, Kim says at least one front desk clerk has continued to make their stay more difficult.

"She said that she would prefer that Victoria not be up there when she's working. So if I wanted to feed Victoria breakfast, it needed to be between 6 and 7 a.m. So now I'm having to get my child up at 5 in the morning to feed her," Kim said.

The mother also said the hotel has blocked their access to a computer in the lobby that they have used to check on Victoria's medical appointments. She also said her requests to have repairs made in their room have gone unanswered.

"They're trying to force us out I've asked for over a month now for the water leaks to be fixed and the mold building up, because of Victoria's breathing problems. They won't do it," Kim said.

The mother now says she is fed up and moving to a different hotel.

"We're removing Victoria from the situation. We will be leaving the Days Inn next weekend, I can't expose my child to this," Kim said.

But the hotel has a different story, and they are denying all of this.

"She complained that we asked her to leave the hotel because of her daughter's medical condition, but we are located one mile away from Duke Hospital and we have many guests who come here to get treatment, so we have never discriminated against the reason for a guest to be here," said a Days Inn front desk clerk.

Meanwhile, the family has contacted Durham's human relations division, who is currently investigating the case. The family has also contacted an attorney.

Durham's Fair Housing Office has declined to comment on the case until they have finished conducting an investigation. They did want to remind people that it is illegal to discriminate against people for any reason, including disabilities, and that their human relations division is there to help with these types of cases.

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