In a creative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Santa Fe partnered with Community Solutions to purchase a hotel to provide more than 120 people a safe place to live, while accelerating the city’s efforts to end homelessness in the process.
Leveraging federal funding, the city of Santa Fe pioneered an innovative way to repurpose a struggling hotel to meet the needs of the community — and help address a housing shortage. This extended stay residence is currently providing its tenants, many of whom are housing-insecure, access to critical social services and community services, such as a grocery store, pharmacy, and public transportation.
This project could serve as a new model for more affordable housing projects for other communities across the country.
- Across the country, due to the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout, communities have struggled to identify ways to effectively leverage available federal funds in a way that can adapt properties that provide housing stability for families and individuals in need.
- In places with tourism-dependent economies, like Santa Fe, partially occupied hotels struggle to keep their doors open.
- Provide housing for people experiencing homelessness in Santa Fe. The additional units that this project creates will cut chronic homelessness in Santa Fe by one third based on current community data.
- Reduce rent for existing tenants. Families who chose to stay and were able to reduce their rent by $450.
- Enable the property to continue providing rooms for low-income cancer patients, who must stay locally while receiving treatment from Santa Fe’s Cancer Center adjacent to the property.
Nationally, communities have been searching for ways to leverage federal funding to deliver creative and effective solutions, quickly. This project models one solution that should be considered in cities across the nation.
- The CARES Act seeks to provide relief for communities struggling to address overwhelming threats facing people, businesses, and entire communities across the country.
- Despite a clear need to immediately address the impending housing and homelessness crisis, communities struggled to identify ways to effectively leverage these funds in a way that would adapt properties that can provide housing stability for families and individuals.
- Following California’s example, Santa Fe effectively put CARES Act funding to use to repurpose a below occupancy hotel to meet the needs of the community. With a total budget of ~$9 million, the project uses an innovative mix of public, private, and philanthropic funding:
- $3.9 million in debt financing
- $2 million in CARES Act funds from the City of Santa Fe
- $1.99 million CARES Act funds from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority
- $600,000 from nonprofit investors
- The project has successfully repurposed a hotel that provided extended stay residence into a property that can continue providing this service, particularly for people in insecure housing situations.
- The Santa Fe Suites will use a model of mixed affordability similar to the Abrigo Apartments.
- Half the units will be permanent affordable housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness using housing vouchers and other forms of rental assistance.
- The remainder are workforce housing. Units will be leased to the market with the goal of preserving affordability and access to quality housing within the City of Santa Fe.
Community Solutions integrates its “property management plus” model to provide enhanced property management to keep tenants housed and add needed services.
- St. Elizabeth Shelter will serve as the property manager. They are a Sante Fe based organization with over 20 years of experience dedicated to assisting homeless individuals and families by providing emergency shelter, food, case management, and counseling, as well as supportive housing and referrals to partnering human service agencies. St. Elizabeth’s Shelters will assist in our implementation of property management plus.
- Tenanting for the veteran units will also be coordinated through St. Elizabeth Shelter.