Many economies were severely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the United States. Hotels saw a significant drop in occupancy as the pandemic hit the United States due to travel restrictions and stay-in-place orders being issued.
In 2020, hundreds of millions of hotel rooms were left vacant. While the hotel industry is experiencing a downfall, communities, and workers across the country are also experiencing problems due to the low employment rate. One of the main issues was a severe shortage of affordable housing, with rents becoming increasingly unaffordable due to the shortage.
Working Class-Families Deserve Affordable Workforce Housing
Affordable workforce housing is crucial for households earning less than the average income. Rent payments for such housing do not exceed 30% of the income of families that occupy them.
Maxwell Drever says that all families deserve to live in safe, affordable, and high-quality housing; living in an affordable workforce housing provides all this and other benefits, like security.It is beneficial to the American economy by improving the quality of life for those living in these high-quality but inexpensive homes.
Converting Distressed Hotels Into Housing
One of the solutions to both problems is converting vacant and distressed old hotels into affordable workforce housing. This will be beneficial for the hotel owners and have a real impact on the citizens of the United States looking for a decent and affordable place to live with their families.
Vacant hotels have increased during the pandemic since people were told to stay at home, stopping the inflow of customers. Traveling of tourists was restricted. To solve this issue, policymakers have been looking at vacant commercial space for the possibility of converting it into housing as the economy prepares to resume operations.
The people facing housing issues and economic hardship during the pandemic will greatly benefit if the government starts encouraging investors to invest in old broken or vacant hotels and turn them into decent places to live that workers can rent or buy for their families with their limited income.
Despite the hotel industry’s difficulties, an increasing number of developers see opportunity in them. These buyers are taking advantage of the crisis and buying closed properties at a bargain price. Reports by the National Association of Realtors show that in 65 percent of the hotels and motels converted, the rent of hotels converted into multifamily housing was either entirely below market rate or a mix of below-market-rate and market rate.
Reusing property is also more environmentally friendly in comparison to new commercial developments. Building new housing plots from scratch takes time, money, and a lot of resources. That is why it is better to use already built properties by just converting them into living spaces for workers and their families.
The Final Note
Converting hotels into affordable workforce housing is a win-win solution for both parties, and that’s why the government should seriously consider this idea to help those who suffered most during the pandemic of 2020.