Chattanooga, TN – Mayor Andy Berke shared a plan with City officials on Tuesday that will convert a local hotel into a shelter for Chattanooga’s homeless.
Community Kitchen, a group interested in managing the hotel shelter projects a local demand for up to 150 rooms.
According to Chattanoogan.com, City officials are looking to acquire a 15-20 room hotel.
Mayor Berke’s hotel purchase and initial staffing will cost over $1 million of the $1,448,742 just allocated from HUD for COVID-19 housing needs.
“Hotels are the safest, quickest option for emergency shelter during COVID-19, but the costs add up,” said Tyler Yount, Mayor Berke’s Director of Special Projects.
“Using these resources to purchase a hotel could mean more efficient use of our long-term funding, more nimbly responding to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and increasing the speed at which we can get more people permanently housed.”
Acquiring property to be used as an emergency shelter was identified as a top priority by the Chattanooga Interagency Council on Homelessness (CICH).
Yount said that Chattanooga spends over $600,000 a year on hotel rooms for homeless housing.
He also explained how cities that purchased hotels to be used as emergency shelters later converted them into affordable apartments.
A contracted realtor is already searching for hotel properties that fit into the City’s proposed budget.
Mayor Berke’s office said that the property could be ready for occupancy as soon as Summer 2021.