Tag: housing

Emergency shelter now. Affordable housing next year.

Roof Above has purchased an 88-room hotel in southwest Charlotte, with plans to convert the building into affordable housing for people who are chronically homeless.

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The nonprofit recently finalized the purchase of a former Quality Inn hotel on Clanton Road near Interstate 77. The rooms immediately will be used for winter shelter and next year renovated into studio apartments.

“We believe so firmly that housing is the solution to homelessness,” said Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO of Roof Above, the name for the merged Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Urban Ministry Center.

The units will be for people who have been homeless for more than a year and who have physical or mental health conditions or substance use disorders, which are barriers to staying housed.

“There really is a need, not just for the affordable housing but for the support services to go with that housing,” Clasen-Kelly said. Residents will have access to a case manager, nurse and other resources on site.

The project will replicate the model from Moore Place, which opened in 2012.

Next year Roof Above plans to add kitchens in each room and convert the units into studio apartments. The budget for the purchase, renovation and initial operating costs is $12 million, officials said.

This is the second Roof Above venture this year to expand permanent supportive housing. In September, the nonprofit announced it had bought the 341-unit HillRock Estates apartments in east Charlotte, where 75 units will be used for permanent supportive housing.

‘An opportunity’

Officials had initially planned to expand supportive housing through new construction. But as the pandemic grew and leaders sought more hotel rooms to decrease shelter crowding, they learned the hotel’s former owners were looking to sell.

Renovating an existing facility is faster and more cost-efficient, Clasen-Kelly said.

“The pandemic has created, clearly, such hardship and suffering, but there are opportunities that the pandemic has created as well,” she said. “This is one of the silver linings is the potential you shift in some hotels and motels into affordable housing throughout the country.”

Hotels have been a potential solution for affordable housing advocates around the United States. And as the tourism industry struggles amid the pandemic, more buildings may become available.

Locally, nonprofit Heal Charlotte announced a $10 million capital campaign this fall to buy and renovate a hotel into affordable housing.

Winter shelter

Before the renovations at the Clanton Road site begin the hotel will immediately be used for winter shelter for women and children who are clients of the Salvation Army Center of Hope.

Emergency shelter has been challenging during the pandemic, with typical congregate living and dining systems more risky for spreading COVID-19.

Shelters like Roof Above and others have lowered capacities and moved some residents into hotel rooms to practice social distancing. Other programs like the Room in the Inn, where local congregations and other groups housed small groups of people during the winter, have been canceled this year because of concerns around managing them safely.

Clasen-Kelly

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Roof Above purchases hotel to transform into housing units

Charlotte non-profit Roof Above purchased the hotel on Clanton Road to transform into permanent housing for 88 families.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte non-profit is getting creative when it comes to solving homelessness in the community.  Roof Above just purchased an 88-unit hotel that will eventually be transformed into permanent housing. 

The hotel, at the intersection of Clanton Road and Interstate 77, will be open this winter as an emergency shelter for women and families.  Renovations will begin in summer 2021 to transform the hotel into more permanent housing for more than 80 families facing homelessness.  

While affordable housing has long been an issue in Charlotte as the city exploded in growth and development, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem for one of the city’s most vulnerable groups.

RELATED: I can’t afford to live here | An in-depth look at Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis

“As the pandemic has created financial challenges for hotels and motels nationally, nonprofits like Roof Above are stepping in to buy facilities we can use for important public purposes – creating a win-win for everybody,” said Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO of Roof Above.

The $12 million renovation will include a kitchen in each unit as well as a support wing dedicated to provide services for individuals looking for resources and support. 

When complete, the new housing will replicate Moore Place, a Charlotte housing community that offers supportive housing for 120 individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness.

RELATED: ‘It was a house of cards waiting to fall’ | Homelessness expected to increase by the end of 2020

The hotel will serve an important purpose through the winter.  Roof Above suspended a winter shelter program due to the pandemic and needed a place to help house and shelter women and children in the community.  The purchase of the hotel will allow the group to immediately open up rooms for those families. 

The project will be paid for through a CARES Act grant from the city of Charlotte as well as donations from the Springsteen Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and a significant financial contribution from the McKibbon Family Foundation. 

Roof Above currently operates a service center, two year-round shelters and more than 400 units of supportive housing in the city.  It also operates a treatment program for substance use disorders. 


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Plan calls for housing homeless in transformed Kansas hotel

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to transform a hotel near downtown Wichita into housing for the homeless goes before the city council next week.

The owner of the 316 Hotel has agreed to sell the building for $2.6 million, according to Wichita spokesperson Megan Lovely. Renovations for the studio apartments are estimated to cost another $1.6 million, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The project is expected to be funded with $2 million in city funds, nearly $2.3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars and another $200,000 in private donations, she said.

HumanKind Ministries, which was previously Inter-Faith Ministries, would own and operate the location.

“The 316 Hotel Project is a rare opportunity,” city of Wichita Housing and Community Services director Sally Stang said in a news release, adding that it would help slow the spread of COVID-19 and “provide much needed supportive housing for our community.”

The 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count in Sedgwick County reported 593 people that met the definition of being homeless. That’s 20 more people than reported in 2018 report and the highest number back to 2014.

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Man arrested for arson after fire set in Renton hotel housing homeless people

A homeless man was arrested for arson after a couch was set afire in a room at the Red Lion Hotel in Renton Wednesday morning, according to the Renton Police Department. Since April, the hotel has provided shelter to more than 200 people in an effort to thin out crowded shelters and protect people from the spread of COVID-19.

Renton firefighter crews responded to the fire on the sixth floor and said a sprinkler system helped to contain the flames. The building was evacuated, and no injuries were reported, according to The Associated Press.

Six rooms were damaged by water or smoke. People staying in those rooms were moved to different rooms at the hotel.

According to a Thursday statement by the Police Department, the suspect, a 46-year-old man who had lived at the hotel for three weeks, became upset with staff members. He told staff, “I’m going to burn this place down,” according to a statement by police. A preliminary arson investigation indicated that the fire started on a couch. 

The Renton hotel has primarily housed people who were previously staying at the Downtown Emergency Service Center’s Morrison Hotel shelter in Seattle. Many of those served by this shelter have disabilities, serious mental illness or substance use disorders, according to previous reporting by The Seattle Times. 

King County is currently paying for the hotel, along with three other hotels in the region, to house those who are homeless. The county spends close to $2 million per month for use of the hotels, according to Sherry Hamilton, spokesperson for the King County Department of Community and Human Services. 

Early into the county’s use of the Red Lion Hotel, Renton city officials started pushing back. In May, Renton leaders publicly asked King County to move people living at the hotel out by July, citing a large increase in 911 calls. 

According to earlier reporting by The Seattle Times, Renton police Chief Ed VanValey told the King County Council in early May that there had been a 79% increase in calls from the hotel’s location — sometimes nine to 12 calls in a single day. Renton Regional Fire Authority Chief Rick Marshall told the council the fire department fielded 30 calls in April, whereas over the same period last year it fielded one.  

This week, Renton city officials rushed forward legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion. Renton City Council could vote the legislation into law as early as next week, when it comes up for a first reading.

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Fight over Renton hotel housing homeless escalates

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — A dispute over a hotel in Renton, Washington, housing homeless people during COVID-19 has escalated between King County government and the city.

The Seattle Times reports that this week local officials rushed forward legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion Hotel, where more than 200 homeless people have been staying since April.

At a Renton City Council meeting Monday, the mayor and council members heard almost an hour of testimony from the community about an emergency ordinance to rewrite Renton zoning code to restrict homeless shelters’ placement and operations.

The council did not discuss the proposed measure after the public comment. It could vote the legislation into law as early as next week.ntent.

“This ordinance is once again using zoning as a tool to exclude people in ways that are fundamentally inequitable,” said Lindsey Grad, legislative director for the union that represents the shelter’s employees. “It was really low, after yet another hard day of work in the middle of a pandemic, to tell (staff at the shelter) that the work they do is essentially being banned.”

It’s the latest chapter in a protracted fight over homelessness between Renton and King County. In April, the county moved almost the entire population of the downtown Seattle Morrison Hotel shelter, many of whom have disabilities, serious mental illness or substance use disorders, to the Red Lion close to downtown Renton.

It wasn’t long before Renton businesses, officials, and the mayor began to complain about an increase in 911 calls in the immediate area.

In June, Renton leaders told the county, the shelter operator and the investors’ group that owns the hotel that they were in violation of the city’s zoning codes. The county appealed that decision to the Renton hearing examiner, who ruled that the county needed to apply to the city for a permit or leave — but also that the city’s zoning code was vague when it came to homeless shelters.

As a smaller suburb, Renton has never had to deal with a situation like this, according to Chip Vincent, the city’s administrator of community and economic development, who helped write the legislation. Almost all of the city’s shelters are in churches or facilities like City Hall, where they are not the building’s primary use. Currently, being a homeless shelter would be considered the Red Lion’s primary use.

But the requirements proposed would be hard for a nonprofit service provider to meet, especially one that runs on a shoestring budget. The proposed requirements include submitting a map of routes staff would encourage clients to use to travel around the city, a plan to maintain “site aesthetics” by cleaning graffiti and picking up trash, a code of conduct that includes not using illegal drugs and a description of consequences for breaking the code of conduct.

In a letter submitted during public comment, local health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said the pandemic would most likely not be over by June 1 and the

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Renton City Council moves to shut down hotel housing homeless people, restrict future shelters

The battle over a Renton hotel housing homeless people during COVID-19 has escalated between county government and the city.

This week, local officials rushed forward legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion Hotel in Renton, where more than 200 homeless people have been staying since April.

At a tense and emotional Renton City Council meeting Monday night, the mayor and council members heard almost an hour of testimony from the community about an emergency ordinance to rewrite Renton zoning code to restrict homeless shelters’ placement and operations.

The council did not discuss the proposed measure after the public comment. It could vote the legislation into law as early as next week, when it comes up for a first reading.

“This ordinance is once again using zoning as a tool to exclude people in ways that are fundamentally inequitable,” said Lindsey Grad, legislative director for the union that represents the shelter’s employees. “It was really low, after yet another hard day of work in the middle of a pandemic, to tell (staff at the shelter) that the work they do is essentially being banned.”

Many people who spoke had only learned about the 41-page ordinance that day. The debate was so passionate that at one point, a commenter was apparently muted mid-speech.

It’s the latest chapter in a protracted fight over homelessness between Renton and King County. In April, the county moved almost the entire population of the downtown Seattle Morrison Hotel shelter, many of whom have disabilities, serious mental illness or substance use disorders, to the Red Lion close to downtown Renton.

It wasn’t long before Renton businesses, officials, and the mayor began to complain about a precipitous increase in 911 calls in the immediate area, which — though lower than what the shelter generated in Seattle — was much higher than local police said they’d ever seen, according to a Seattle Times story in May.

In June, Renton leaders told the county, the shelter operator and the investors’ group that owns the hotel that they were in violation of the city’s zoning codes. The county appealed that decision to the Renton hearing examiner, who ruled that the county needed to apply to the city for a permit or leave — but also that the city’s zoning code was vague when it came to homeless shelters.

As a smaller suburb, Renton has never had to deal with a situation like this, according to Chip Vincent, the city’s administrator of community and economic development, who helped write the legislation. Almost all of the city’s shelters are in churches or facilities like City Hall, where they are not the building’s primary use. Currently, being a homeless shelter would be considered the Red Lion’s primary use.

“Too much of the focus of this has been on the Red Lion, when the reality is the Red Lion forced us to reevaluate,” Vincent said. “The code could be clearer.”

But the requirements proposed would be hard for a nonprofit service

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As Homelessness Increases, NYC Community Divided Over Hotel Housing on Cheddar

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Shams – better known as Da Homeless Hero – has lived in four different locations. His current address is The Lucerne Hotel in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where he and over 200 other homeless men are residing as part of a New York City program. He loves his most recent home, which has provided him with support during a difficult time.

“This is a deadly disease,” Shams, who recovered from COVID-19 a few months earlier, explained. “A lot of us are older, and going through being homeless, a lot of times you’re not getting the right help that you should.”

But some locals believe Shams and the other Lucerne residents would receive better care in a different area of Manhattan. After a months-long battle, a judge will decide next week whether the homeless men will stay or be relocated to the Radisson Hotel in the Financial District of Manhattan. 

“For me it was both as a parent my concern and especially as an anesthesiologist,” said Westside Community Organization president Megan Martin. “What I was seeing was that people were in the throws of an addiction who were not receiving services.”

Hotels for Homes

From Baltimore to Los Angeles, many local cities across the United States have struck deals with hotels to pay for unused rooms during the pandemic. These spaces are then turned into temporary shelters in order to help socially distance homeless individuals. Similar to the Upper West Side, many area residents are pushing to relocate them outside of their own neighborhoods.
The issues may continue to increase as more people find themselves displaced. Up to 250,000 additional people could become homeless as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis by Columbia University professor of economics Dr. Brendan O’Flaherty. The unemployment rate in October reached 6.9 percent, an improvement from earlier in the pandemic. However, as states begin to shut down schools and businesses again with coronavirus levels spiking, there are worries more people could find themselves destitute. 

The Lucerne is one of three hotels in a ten-block radius that house homeless people. It is specifically earmarked for men in substance abuse recovery and many of its residents have mental health disorders. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the facility in September and called the conditions “unacceptable.” WestCo’s Martin said the hotel is far from the shelter of origin for many of its residents and other resources like methadone clinics are also quite a distance away. The new proposed location is closer to those facilities.

“When you have this severe mental illness and chemical addiction and you are not receiving the proper medical care and substance abuse services, you are basically saying you are just warehousing individuals, and then not giving them the proper treatment,” Martin said. 

Safety Concerns

Keeping the homeless men in the Upper West Side is also putting families in danger, she adds. She says there’s open prostitution, needles on playgrounds, robberies, and illicit

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San Diego Housing Commission Earns Award For New Palace Hotel Seniors Project

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New Palace Hotel
Located in Bankers Hill, the New Palace Hotel was transformed into 79 affordable studio apartments by San Diego Housing Commission in partnership with a nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners. Photo courtesy of HDP.

The San Diego Housing Commission Tuesday earned an Award of Excellence from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials for its work to turn a hotel property into housing for seniors.

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SDHC earned the award for its work rehabilitating the single-room occupancy property New Palace Hotel to provide permanent housing with supportive services for seniors who experienced homelessness or were at risk of homelessness.

“This national recognition reflects the San Diego Housing Commission’s outstanding work to provide affordable rental homes for vulnerable seniors in the city of San Diego,” said Richard Gentry, SDHC’s president and CEO. “I thank and congratulate Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council, who supported this rehabilitation, as well as our staff and the community organizations that worked with us to make this project possible.”

The NAHRO Awards of Excellence recognize “outstanding innovation and achievement in housing and community development programs throughout the country.” Nationwide, 21 programs or projects received NAHRO Awards of Excellence this year. NAHRO announced the awards  during its virtual 2020 National Conference.

Located in Bankers Hill, the New Palace Hotel was transformed into 79 affordable studio apartments by SDHC in partnership with a nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners.

It was the first major renovation of New Palace in about 25 years and included energy-efficiency upgrades and the addition of kitchenettes in each unit, which also received new shower enclosures and bathroom fixtures and was furnished with a bed and dresser.

Residents of the renovated New Palace receive federal rental assistance from SDHC and have access to supportive services provided by the nonprofit organization Serving Seniors, which also operates the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center located three blocks from the property.

Supportive services and resources include healthcare, legal services, entitlement and retirement benefits assistance, transportation, community events, and one-on-one support.

New Palace also includes one unrestricted studio manager’s unit.

— City News Service

San Diego Housing Commission Earns Award For New Palace Hotel Seniors Project was last modified: November 17th, 2020 by Christine Huard

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Sacramento got state funding to turn a hotel into homeless housing. The project was nixed

A controversial plan to convert a River District hotel into housing for the homeless has been nixed.

Sacramento had scored funding from a competitive state program called Project Homekey to convert the Hawthorn Suites into 100 units of homeless housing in a part of the city where the homeless crisis is dire.

Since the location was announced, the city has been hit with two lawsuits trying to block the project – one by the developer of luxury apartments across the street and one from an organization that represents businesses in the area.

But the lawsuits did not kill the project, said Jeree Glasser, Jamboree Housing’s vice president of Northern California.

“This was purely an appraisal issue,” Glasser said.

Jamboree, an affordable housing developer, had signed a purchase agreement for the property, Glasser said. But then the state required an appraisal, which came back at a lower amount than one that was done prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The seller wanted to sell for the higher price, but the state’s rules prohibited Jamboree from paying more than the appraised value, Glasser said.

The hotel owner, Calabasas-based the Ezralow Co., did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The news will mean at least one of the two lawsuits will be dropped.

“I don’t think there would be any other reason to continue the lawsuit from my perspective,” said Anthony Scotch, a representative for the 500 Bercut LLC group, which sued the city in September. The lawsuit claimed that with the project, the city was going back out on its promise to stop placing homeless services in the River District, hurting the area’s revitalization efforts.

The homeless project would have stalled efforts to attract investors for a 250-unit high-end apartment complex planned to be built next to the American River levee on Bercut Drive, just east of Interstate 5 on the former Rusty Duck and Hungry Hunter restaurant sites, Scotch has said. The Hawthorn Suites sits across the street from that site.

It’s unclear if the news will cause the River District to drop its lawsuit, which it filed earlier this month against the city, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Jamboree Housing and several state agencies.

River District board executive director Jenna Abbott did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

That lawsuit claims local officials were planning to improperly use federal coronavirus stimulus funds to help fund the project, which would have provided permanent homeless housing for about 55 years.

The city and SHRA declined comment on the River District lawsuit because they have not yet been served with it, spokespeople said.

The city was planning to use about $9 million in CARES funds for the project, which can now be used for other items before the end of the year, said Mary Lynne Vellinga, Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s spokeswoman. Reallocation of those funds would need City Council approval.

Bob Erlenbusch of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness called the news “a tragedy for our unhoused neighbors.”

“To have

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Sacramento CA hotel will no longer become homeless housing

A controversial plan to convert a River District hotel into housing for the homeless has been nixed.

Sacramento had scored funding from a competitive state program called Project Homekey to convert the Hawthorn Suites into 100 units of homeless housing in a part of the city where the homeless crisis is dire.

Since the location was announced, the city has been hit with two lawsuits trying to block the project – one by the developer of luxury apartments across the street and one from an organization that represents businesses in the area.

But the lawsuits did not kill the project, said Jeree Glasser, Jamboree Housing’s vice president of Northern California.

“This was purely an appraisal issue,” Glasser said.

Jamboree, an affordable housing developer, had signed a purchase agreement for the property, Glasser said. But then the state required an appraisal, which came back at a lower amount than one that was done prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The seller wanted to sell for the higher price, but the state’s rules prohibited Jamboree from paying more than the appraised value, Glasser said.

The hotel owner, Calabasas-based the Ezralow Co., did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The news will mean at least one of the two lawsuits will be dropped.

“I don’t think there would be any other reason to continue the lawsuit from my perspective,” said Anthony Scotch, a representative for the 500 Bercut LLC group, which sued the city in September. The lawsuit claimed that with the project, the city was going back out on its promise to stop placing homeless services in the River District, hurting the area’s revitalization efforts.

The homeless project would have stalled efforts to attract investors for a 250-unit high-end apartment complex planned to be built next to the American River levee on Bercut Drive, just east of Interstate 5 on the former Rusty Duck and Hungry Hunter restaurant sites, Scotch has said. The Hawthorn Suites sits across the street from that site.

It’s unclear if the news will cause the River District to drop its lawsuit, which it filed earlier this month against the city, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Jamboree Housing and several state agencies.

River District board executive director Jenna Abbott did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

That lawsuit claims local officials were planning to improperly use federal coronavirus stimulus funds to help fund the project, which would have provided permanent homeless housing for about 55 years.

The city and SHRA declined comment on the River District lawsuit because they have not yet been served with it, spokespeople said.

The city was planning to use about $9 million in CARES funds for the project, which can now be used for other items before the end of the year, said Mary Lynne Vellinga, Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s spokeswoman. Reallocation of those funds would need City Council approval.

Bob Erlenbusch of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness called the news “a tragedy for our unhoused neighbors.”

“To have this

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