Increasingly, I have been reading about efforts to house the homeless in hotels or motels. As reported here on Green Lodging News, the Los Angeles City Council voted to reject a proposal that would have required hotels to make vacant rooms available to unhoused individuals. The measure now heads to the voters in November to decide whether this proposal becomes law. While housing the homeless in working hotels may not be the greatest idea, housing them in a former hotel makes a lot of sense if done right.
I just read about a project in Asheville, N.C. that will see a former 127-room Days Inn hotel converted to permanent housing for the homeless thanks to the efforts of the nonprofit Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound purchased the property for $6.5 million, according to an article appearing in Citizen Times. Once the renovation is completed, there will be 85 units of permanent supportive housing. Fundraising efforts are ongoing to fund the project’s $16.5 million cost. Most of the money has been raised. The project could reduce the number of chronically homeless individuals in Asheville by 40 percent, the article says.
The complex will include on-site support services, such as case management, job training, medical care and more. There will be a kitchen for resident and volunteer use, a computer lab and library. Five case managers will be on-site, one for every 17 residents, along with maintenance and security staff, various volunteers, and nonprofit partners and much of Homeward Bound’s administrative team. It will be near public transportation and other amenities, along a walkable strip, just off I-240.
Those who have been homeless a year or longer and are living with at least one disabling condition will live there. Though most of the rooms will be singles, four to five will be outfitted for couples, and pets will be welcome. For the formerly homeless, there will be no time limit for their stay. The facility is expected to be ready for move-in between March and May 2023.
Says the Citizen Times, “The city is also pursuing a similar model at East Asheville’s Ramada Inn after Asheville City Council abandoned plans to pursue a high-access emergency homeless shelter at the hotel in December 2021.”