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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 21 June 2021

Vancouver Housing Authority is on the hunt for hotels and motels to purchase for conversion to affordable housing.

The housing authority previously purchased the former Howard Johnson by Wyndham Vancouver Hotel & Suites for use as a non-congregate shelter. Rehab on the 63-room building will take place this August with Bertha Cain Baugh Place intending to open in September. Onsite service provider Catholic Community Services of Western Washington is working on hiring staff.

Some rehab work will continue after people move in. VHA Executive Director Roy Johnson said the agency wants to get people sheltered as soon as possible.

Why convert old hotels

Converting a hotel or motel into a shelter, transitional housing or affordable housing is much faster than building new facilities from the ground up. That’s one of the main drivers behind the housing authority’s search for hotels and motels for sale in Clark County.

“There is additional opportunity for funding for this type of activity,” Johnson said. State officials are ironing out the details of the Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program, which aims to get people into housing more quickly by using existing properties.   

An extended stay hotel would be ideal as rooms are typically furnished with kitchenettes, but Johnson said his agency is interested in all kinds and all sizes of accommodations. Hotel rooms can be turned into efficiency units with a community kitchen similar to Central Park Place, a 123-unit supportive housing facility on the Vancouver VA campus.

Converting hotels and motels into housing is also a way to repurpose older buildings that may no longer be economically feasible for use by tourists and travelers. Cities around the country are pursuing this avenue to address a shortage of affordable housing and revitalize aging buildings.  

Hotel or motel owners interested in learning more can contact Johnson at 360-993-9500.  

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