How Charlotte is providing affordable housing. Should Greenville try?

How Charlotte is providing affordable housing. Should Greenville try?

When Greenville County officials condemned the Economy Inn in January, 80 people who considered the motel their home found themselves without shelter.

The Greenville Homeless Alliance stepped in and helped, beginning with arrangement of living quarters.

Leaders of the organization that works to increase options for homeless people in Greenville County say a lack of affordable-housing options is one reason people live in motels. Additionally, if someone has poor credit or a criminal background, it can be difficult to be approved for a lease on an apartment. 

But motels can be relatively expensive and sometimes have poor living conditions amid higher rates of crime.

An alternative growing in popularity around the country is converting motels and hotels into affordable housing.

Roof Above, a homeless service provider in Charlotte, North Carolina, is in the process of doing just that. 

The organization bought a former Quality Inn in Charlotte at the end of 2020 with all the furnishings and was able to use it immediately as an emergency shelter for women and children during the cold months of winter.

As temperatures have warmed, the hotel is no longer being operated as emergency shelter and is now under construction to be converted into permanent affordable housing that’s expected to open in December, according to Liz Clasen-Kelly, Roof Above’s CEO.

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