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Motel 99, Parkside Inn, Day’s Inn, and Welcome Inn along Parkway Drive in southwest Fresno are part of a notorious stretch visible to drivers on Highway 99 coming into Fresno. It’s dilapidated condition is now on the cusp of a transformation.

In a recent document, the city said the area supports a ‘subculture of human trafficking, gangs, and drugs (that) draw adults and their children into a cycle of despair.’

Portrait of Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias

“The purchase and renovation and validation of multiple hotels in that corridor is going to change lives for generations to come. Thank you all and the work has just begun.”– Council President Miguel Arias 

Thursday morning, the Fresno City Council voted to approve $4.5 million of its federal CARES Act money to help with purchasing the hotels and converting them for homeless housing. The city is partnering with the Fresno Housing Authority on the project.

After the vote, Council President Miguel Arias said, “The purchase and renovation and validation of multiple hotels in that corridor is going to change lives for generations to come. Thank you all and the work has just begun.”

Mayor Lee Brand said, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the quality of life in our community. We are addressing the challenges of COVID-19 and homelessness, significantly adding to our affordable housing inventory, and transforming one of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods, all at the same time.”

Project Homekey Funding

The Housing Authority received confirmation Thursday that the agency has received $16.5 million in additional funding under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Homekey program to support the plan. The money will go toward three of the motels along Parkway Drive and another property in Huron. These four properties total 251 units.

The Housing Authority received funding for the remaining Parkway Drive property in September.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the quality of life in our community.”Fresno Mayor Lee Brand

Homekey allocates a portion of the state’s CARES Act funding to local communities to acquire motels and use them as to house the homeless during the COVID pandemic. Later, the properties can be converted into permanent low-income housing. The Fresno Housing Authority has received over $24 million in Homekey funding.

Fresno Housing Authority

The Fresno Housing Authority will perform all the necessary paperwork, appraisals, environmental testing and work with contractors and trade services to assess the scope of repairs needed at each site. Their goal is to prepare the units for initial occupancy within 30-90 days.

“This is another incredible opportunity for our community,” said Tracewell Hanrahan, the Housing Authority’s deputy director in a news release. “We are excited to take this next step with our partners as we look forward to serving those at risk, but also to plan for the longer-term vision of transforming these underutilized properties into vibrant neighborhoods.”

The Housing Authority will also provide operational support at the properties for up to 5 years. Resident services could include case management and coordination with medical and mental health and substance abuse services. Assistance to prepare residents for permanent housing will also be offered, officials said.

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