DARTMOUTH -- Families on social assistance who've been staying at a Dartmouth hotel are all moved out tonight after being given 48 hours to leave.

While they were moving out, the question of why people are living in hotels in the first place sparked debate across the harbour at the provincial legislature.

Mikki Rhyno had a noon deadline of noon to get all her things out of the Dartmouth Travelodge, where she and five children had been staying.

"Oh, we're past our due date, so we need to get out as soon as possible," Rhyno said.

Rhyno is one of about 20 people who given 48-hours' notice to get out after the hotel ended its housing agreement with the Nova Scotia government.

"I do have a place to go thankfully, and I'm very grateful for that," Rhyno said. "It may be for just a week, but I have a home."

Other people were still trying to nail down where they'd be staying tonight.

"It's hard enough getting a place in our city right, let alone finding another hotel to accommodate in two days," said Rebecca Sparks.

The provincial government said placing people in a hotel is a last resort.

"We spend about $480,000 a year housing people temporarily in hotels," said Nova Scotia Community Services Minister Kelly Regan. "Seventy-five per cent of that is people going to medical appointments and they need to stay overnight because of a medical appointment or something like that."

Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc said "when we have a low vacancy rate, rents go up and the victims of this are people in the lowest income bracket."

Premier Stephen McNeil said Friday that bridging the affordable housing gap won't be easy.

"There is no one solution," McNeil said. "Like the idea we can stop on rent control hasn't stopped the issue in other provinces. As a matter a fact, it's created a problem."

Leblanc sees it differently.

"I think it actually does work in many provinces and cities, great cities in the United States of America, but rent control is one part of a multi-pronged solution," Leblanc said.

Attempts to get a comment from Andrew Moore, the general manager of the Travelodge in Dartmouth, were unsuccessful.

CTV News was told that he was not in the hotel today and didn't hear back after messages were left.