Phoenix officials approved on Wednesday a loan of up to $2.5 million that will help transform Travel Inn Apartments into 90 studio apartments for homeless and low-income individuals.
Part of the loan agreement ensures that 38 of those remain earmarked as affordable rental units for at least 40 years.
The money to rehabilitate the vacant hotel comes from the HOME program, the federal government's largest block grant designed to create affordable housing. Each year, states, cities and towns across the country receive about $2 billion from the feds.
Phoenix awarded the grant to Chicanos Por La Causa, which purchased the hotel at 3541 E. Van Buren Street for $2.1 million in September 2012. The overall project will cost more than $4 million.
Deputy Housing Director Maria Bears said that city officials receive applications for the federal grant money, and choose projects based on various criteria. Among them, initiatives that address homelessness.
"When the mayor took office, that was one of his priorities," Bear says.
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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has been on a crusade to end homelessness, particularly among veterans.
"We're seeing great success," Stanton says. "But we're not going to stop until we've ended homelessness in our region."
Stanton noted, in a recent news release, that shelters, non-profit organizations such as the United Way, the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, the Arizona Department Veterans Services, volunteers, as well as those in the private sector and faith community have worked place 60 percent of our community's chronically homeless veterans in permanent housing in the last year.