The Red Roof Inn and Days Inn in Valley West | Photos: Jacquelyn Opalach

PREVIOUSLY: Arcata House Partnership and Danco Seek to Convert Two Valley West Hotels Into Homeless Housing Developments


As part of its ongoing efforts to address the complicated issue of homelessness, City of Arcata is partnering with local development company Danco and Arcata House Partnership (AHP) to convert two Valley West hotels — the Red Roof Inn and the Days Inn & Suites — into permanent supportive housing developments for homeless individuals. During tonight’s meeting, the Arcata City Council will consider the proposed projects and may take steps to make the zoning changes necessary for the project to move forward.

The changes would expand the city’s Homeless Housing Combining District — a zone adopted by the City of Arcata in 2009 to facilitate the development of emergency homeless shelters, transitional housing and supportive housing — to include the hotel properties. The zoning language would also be amended to allow for and establish standards for permanent supportive housing developments. Like it sounds, Permanent Supportive Housing provides residents with permanent housing, along with support services and rental assistance.

On Tuesday night, the Arcata Planning Commission considered the zoning changes and, effectively, the commission decided that it could not recommend the zoning changes, with several commissioners saying they did not feel they had enough information to facilitate the City moving forward with these projects.

Commission Vice-Chair Judith Mayer referred to the zoning change as “deceptively simple” and said she was distressed by the fact that no representatives from Danco or Arcata House were present for the meeting. Mayer and some other commissioners also cited concerns over placing these housing developments in Valley West — a neighborhood that many see as underserved — and the potential crime and safety issues it might present.

David Loya, Arcata community development director, addressed many of the commission’s concerns, explaining that the developments would both have 24 hour on-site management. Loya added that, unlike a homeless shelter, the people living in these facilities would not just be passing through and that this housing would possibly attract folks who are looking to turn their lives around.

“That’s not to say that they’re not going to have behavioral issues that are going to impact the community,” Loya said to the commission on Tuesday night. “That’s not to say that they won’t have drug and alcohol issues that they’ll be dealing with. But it is to say that they’ve at least made the first choice to start moving in a positive direction.”

The project, Loya explained, includes plans to convert the hotel rooms into small apartments that would include kitchenettes. In addition to the on-site management, the housing would include other services, such as food services, laundry facilities and access to counseling.

Depending on their income, many tenants would pay rent and they would have the same legal rights as renters of other types of housing. The project would create approximately 138 units — 78 units at the Red Roof Inn for anyone who is experiencing homelessness, and 60 units at the Days Inn, reserved for chronically homeless individuals (those who have been homeless for at least one year and suffer from some sort of disability.)

The project would be primarily funded by grant money from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey program — a statewide effort, built on Project Roomkey, to rapidly expand housing for people experiencing homelessness. The Council will also vote on approving the grant proposals. If approved, the City, Danco and AHP are looking to submit the proposals by Jan. 31, 2022.

Ultimately, the Planning Commission voted to continue the item to their next meeting on Jan. 11, and requested more information on what the projects will look like and how they will function and requested input from the Police Department. 

The City, Danco and AHP also held two public meetings on the projects on Dec. 1 and, according to the staff report, received a lot of positive feedback from the community. However, many community members did express concern over potential safety, crime and whether the projects would attract more homeless people to the Valley West area from other parts of the region.

If you have strong feelings about these proposed projects, you can attend tonight’s Arcata City Council meeting — held via Zoom — at 6 p.m.  The council will also receive an update on the Regional Climate Action Plan and will receive public input on the Arcata Gateway Area Plan, which the City released for public comment on Dec. 1.

You can view the full agenda and directions on how to participate in tonight’s City Council meeting here.