Arcata House Partnership and Danco Seek to Convert Two Valley West Hotels Into Homeless Housing Developments | Lost Coast Outpost

The Red Roof Inn in Valley West may soon be converted into housing for the homeless | Photos: Jacqueline Opalach

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In the face of the ongoing challenge of securing housing for the homeless in our community, the City of Arcata is working with The Danco Group and Arcata House Partnership (AHP) to transform two Valley West hotels — Red Roof Inn and Days Inn & Suites, both on Valley West Boulevard — into Accommodations for those who suffer from homelessness.

David Loya, Arcata Community Development Manager, said the proposed projects outpost, would require a zoning change to allow the plots to be used for emergency housing and would need approval from both the City Planning Commission and Arcata City Council. If approved, this project will provide approximately 130 rooms for homeless individuals in Humboldt.

Loya said in a phone interview with The outpost Tuesday morning. “This is amazing [project] It is a relatively simple fix. Those buildings are already there.”

The project will be funded largely by grant money from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey Program — a statewide effort, built on Project Roomkey, to rapidly expand housing for people experiencing homelessness. Arcata City Council will also need to approve the grant application, before the city can submit the proposal.

Days Inn & Suites on Valley West Boulevard

If the grant is awarded, AHP will purchase the Days Inn and provide rooms for individuals who are chronically homeless. Darlene Spohr, CEO of AHP, told outpost An individual is considered “chronically homeless” if they have been homeless for at least a year And They have some kind of disability.

Last year, AHP used Project Roomkey funds to place homeless individuals in rooms at the Days Inn, helping provide them with shelter during the pandemic. That program has since ended, Spoor said, and she is keen to secure more housing for those who need it.

“I think we’re clearly seeing more homeless people, it’s important to know that a large part of that is due to a lack of housing,” Spoor said. outpost. Community support will be extremely important to us, so we can help. The biggest question I ask is “Will this bring more homeless people to Valley West?” And I say, “They’re already here.”

Supplemented with Homekey Grant funds, Danco will purchase the Red Roof Inn, allocating some rooms to chronically homeless individuals and some to other homeless people. Danco will do some minor building work on the hotel – including remodeling the rooms and removing the pool, which is expensive and difficult to maintain and can present potential liability issues.

Of course, converting hotels into residences will have at least a minimal financial impact on the city, due to the loss in transit occupancy tax. But Loya said the sacrifice was worth it. “What we get in return is the opportunity to provide housing for our homeless community,” he said.

In order to gather community feedback on these proposed projects, Danco and Arcata House Partnership will host two public meetings on Wednesday, December 1st to share information about the project. The first meeting will take place at noon in the parking lot of the Arcata House Partnership – 4677 Valley West Boulevard – and is intended for residents experiencing homelessness. loya said outpost The meeting is open to all members of the public, but the main purpose of the meeting is to obtain input from the people the project will serve. Free lunch will be provided and socks and warm clothes will be distributed to those in need.

For other community members to learn more about the projects and provide their feedback, there will be a public meeting taking place on Zoom on Wednesday, December 1 at 2 PM. You can access the meeting at this link, or with Meeting ID 863 2854 5516.

The public will also have the opportunity to comment on the project when it is presented to the Planning Committee on Tuesday 14th December and when the project comes before Arcata City Council during its meeting on Wednesday 15th December.

Although Loya isn’t entirely sure how long the whole process will take, he said that assuming the board approves the project and grant request, he hopes the projects will be up and running by summer 2022.

“The faster we go, the better,” Loya said. “[This housing] It is something our society desperately needs. But it’s not happening fast enough.”

You can find more information about the project on the City of Arcata website.

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