The worldwide pandemic has created opportunities for private players and governmental agencies to try their luck in addressing the shortage of affordable housing. One of these policies is the mass conversion of broken hotels into affordable housing units explains Maxwell Drever. Many localities and states have leased areas in hotels for providing shelter to these homeless individuals.
Several governments are funding these projects to acquire a mass conversion of hotel spaces into permanent housing. Hence, local, state, and federal resources play a significant role in the conversion process. A proactive part of the government and non-profit organizations is central to ensuring a smooth conversion process. It is a joint venture of the public and private sector, which has to be practically and politically viable. Policy changes are thereby required to create more robust opportunities in future.
Grab the opportunity
The hotel industry was tremendously affected during the COVID-19 shutdown. Since March 2020, the travel and tourism and the hospitality sector have seen a reduction in their revenues. A vast percentage of these hotel rooms went vacant during their peak season. Hence, the opportunity of converting these hotel rooms into affordable housing units is a lucrative chance. It is a solution to the pressing problem and ensures a smooth flow of revenues for the hotel owners.
Homelessness is a nightmare for a large section of the workforce population into significant professions. These teachers, firefighters, nurses, and retailers form a vital part of the community who spend more than 30% of their monthly income paying the rent. Hence, the worldwide pandemic had brought them on the verge of homelessness. By converting hotel rooms into affordable housing units, these individuals can access a shelter around their job location. However, it is also a productive venture for property owners and hotel owners in particular.
What does the government do?
Maxwell Drever asserts that by providing incentives and tax benefits to the hotel owners and property owners, the government can proactively engage in this conversion process. Since the main aim here is to provide shelter to the vulnerable occupants, the government and the private association must solve the issue. By providing them with supportive incentives and policy mechanisms, the government can commit itself to the problem of solving homelessness.
The process unfolded
When initiating the conversion, the first thing is the inspection of the property. The hotel owner might have to repair certain aspects to ensure the structure is safe and sound, states Maxwell Drever. Apart from this, each hotel room must be converted into a home-like unit to make the person feel at home. Further, necessary amenities like a refrigerator, television, oven, microwave, mixer grinder, and other essentials must be present. Hotel owners have to make efforts to provide the applicant with everything they require on a day-to-day basis.
Although there are various challenges that hotel owners face in the conversion process, governments have tried to simplify the zoning restrictions along with the building code. Hence, the conversion process comes as a promising project for a considerable section of the population living outside their homes and trying their luck in different professions.