On the side of Route 1 in South Brunswick stands Hotel Vicenza, where the rooms are cheap and the highway noise is a low rumble.
Step inside and talk to the people living there, and you'll hear about hard luck and bad times.
A mother on public assistance, a grandmother who went from living in a four-bedroom colonial to working a cash register.
They're the stories of how lost paychecks, debt, and illness can take their toll on a life. How choices can narrow quickly and unexpectedly.
Vanessa Jackson, who’s raising her 3 kids in one room, says social services paid for her room but even that was endowed after what she says was a paperwork mix up.
“I mean they understood my situation but still they need their funds, I could understand that,” Jackson said.
Jackson was residing in Georgia and recently came back to New Jersey. But a variety of medical problems left her out of work.
“So I was working in the medical field for work for 16 years when the doctor put me out of work permanently,” Jackson said.
Down the breeze way is Kathy Arhankos, who says her stay is only temporary. She started living here in September 1st after she could no longer pay the rent on her apartment.
“I just couldn’t pay anymore, I was getting behind. And I always help people, I was the one who lent people money. I have a hard time asking for help because I never did,” Arhankos said.
Arhankos is a widow, who lost her husband almost 20 years ago. She said she wasn’t able to go on a social service program because she hadn’t been out of work for more than 3 months.
But now, it’s going to be even harder to get on a welfare program because she picked up a holiday job at Target so she could pay for food.
It's the motel of broken dreams, where anyone could end up and there's always a vacancy for those hit by the setbacks of life.