RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – For people having a hard time getting into an apartment, an extended stay often becomes home.
The former Hospitality Inn off Capital Boulevard and Brentwood Road is often used by low-income residents who face challenges getting into any sort of housing.
The city purchased the hotel last year to provide shelter for people inbetween homelessness and housing.
“Buying a hotel is definitely a first for the city,” Erika Brandt, the housing programs administrator for the city, said.
The hotel has 113 studio units. As they turn over, Raleigh plans to convert 25 of them into permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities or people exiting homelessness.
“It’s hard to work, it’s hard to get an education and provide for your family if you don’t have that sort of stable platform,” Brandt said. “Housing is just essential to providing folks stability. Everyone needs a place to stay so it’s really a fundamental piece of living a good life.”
Buying the building cost the city $8 million. Then, another $2 million was approved by the city council on Tuesday to renovate the building.
Brandt said some rooms will be upgraded, stairs will be replaced and fire alarms installed.
Raleigh split its allocated $73 million from the American Rescue Plan Act into five groups- economic recovery, housing/homelessness, community health, transit and infrastructure. The hotel is the only project under the housing category so far.
The single largest ticket item under the city’s planned ARPA is in the transit category. The city has a budget of $105.4 million for a train that will connect North Carolina to Virginia.
While that will cost more than the city received from ARPA funding, Raleigh plans to partner with several other government entities to cover the full cost of the project.
In the meantime, they’re continuing to work on the hotel project.
“It’ll probably be a couple years before all the updates are complete and everything is as we envision right now. We’re already starting,” Brandt said.
The non-profit CASA, a North Carolina housing non-profit, will manage the building and provide resources like job training. CASA has focused its work on affordable housing for the last 30 years.
“We realize the challenges that existed then and they’ve only increased now in terms of affordability for housing,” CASA CEO Everett McElveen said.
He said growth in the region has resulted in increased rents and the COVID-19 pandemic only made things worse.
“We do need to have some innovative strategies to accommodate the people who already living here,” McElveen said.
He hopes CASA’s partnership with the city can keep people off the streets, help them bounce back and gain more stability.
“Many people that lived in the triangle and across the country were close to having a crisis and the pandemic brought that crisis,” McElveen said.
A bright spot? The pandemic also made the funds for this project possible.
“We want to make sure we’re being good stewards of that money,” Brandt said.