With the pandemic hitting severely and leaving so many families homeless – the ideal alternative was converting the hotels and motels into shelters. The hotels struggling to get any bookings as the travel restrictions and stay-put rule made it impossible for anyone to go out. The hotels and other accommodations (for holidays and vacations) lost most customers, resulting in zero income for almost a year.
As per a report, more than 35 million US families in 2019 were under the classification of ‘housing cost burden,’ and over 17 million were under ‘severely cost burden.’ More families were spending over 30% of their annual income on accommodation.
Maxwell Drever unfolds that the connection between cheaper housing solutions with hotels in distress brought positive revolutionary change. Families who fall under the category of the medium-income group that means the total annual income is between 60 to 120 percent of the local median income – became the beneficiaries of this conversion. Families belong to the working class of the communities – teachers, firefighters, retail assistants, nurses, and construction workers; struggle all their lives to find decent accommodation.
According to the report of STR for hospitality analytics, the hotel occupancy rates tumbled to 26% from 45% in just a couple of months. However, converting this accommodation into multifamily dwelling units and shelter homes improved from 39% by the end of 2020.
Maxwell Drever suggests repurposing hotels & motels to affordable housing.
The typical hotel size is anything between 300 – 500 square feet and calls for colossal maintenance expenditure. A single- or double-star hotel offers around 200 rooms with basic facilities like toilets, beds, great lighting, and ventilation. Other amenities like a swimming pool, large cooking area, dining area, banquet halls, and entertainment sections help offer better living spaces for families. The intelligent approach is to combine both the needs and result in a ‘win-win situation.’
The families struggle to find decent accommodation in the city location connected to the work area accommodate in these hotels. The immediate conversion of motels to affordable housing solutions was critical by many realtors and government bodies. The added advantage of this measure is zero construction hassle. Providing houses to more than 35% of the homeless families became a challenge post-pandemic. When families lost jobs and started switching from expensive rental homes – multifamily accommodation was the best solution.
The local bodies collaborate with developers and property owners to make this alternative for better sustainability of the hospitality industry. The scheme assists the relators and local municipalities during the conversion transition like appraisal market feasibility, in-house condition assessment, cone analysis, and other services to give thumbs-up to such projects.
Maxwell Drever explains that although with the vaccine and people resuming back to normalcy, it is not as challenging as before. More and more families benefit as the conversion offers rooms with amenities and a secured environment with large open areas for entertainment and sports. But many motels would prefer to stay as housing units for a couple of years to recover from the damage incurred during the covid crisis.