The Days Inn & Suites on Valley West Boulevard, to be eventually converted into homeless housing | File photo


After recently approving Arcata House Partnership (AHP)’s grant application to fund the conversion of the Days Inn & Suites in Valley West into permanent supportive housing for homeless people, the Arcata City Council will hold a special meeting on Friday to consider approving a request from the non-profit organization to increase the grant proposal to nearly double the initial amount.

The project is a part of a plan to convert two Valley West motels – the Days Inn and the Redroof Inn – into homeless housing, brought before the city by AHP and local development company Danco. During a meeting on Dec. 15, the city council approved the necessary zoning changes to allow for permanent supportive housing to be developed on both sites. The council also approved a joint grant application with the City and AHP for $10,787,000 in state Homekey funds to cover the cost. According to the staff report, Arcata House has since updated the project’s budget to $12 million.

“Subsequent to the December 15 approval, AHP updated the preliminary project development budget to $12 million,” the staff report states. “During the week of January 17 AHP consulted with the CA Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which recommended the application be increased to $19 million to cover potential additional costs.”

Darleen Spoor, executive director of AHP, told the Outpost that the change is primarily due to an oversight on the part of the non-profit. Spoor said that the projected budget for the project has always been $12 million, that the application amount was incorrect and the new application is meant to correct that error. Because HCD recommends applying for more funding that you need, Spoor said, AHP is requesting $15 million for development costs. The non-profit is additionally applying for $4 million in operating subsidies, Spoor said, which would help fund the operating costs for five years.

The council will vote on two resolutions on Friday – one that will replace the grant application amount and another that will repeal and replace the amount of a loan agreement between the City and AHP. The City will loan AHP the $19 million, to be paid back (with three percent interest) by the grant funding. Due to some concerns brought up by members of both the council and the planning commission that there may not have been enough public engagement prior to the council’s approval of the zoning changes, the loan agreement has also been updated to include a requirement that the housing project “shall include a plan for ongoing outreach to and input from neighbors and residents.”

After hearing some public concerns about the project, Spoor said that AHP has also made a change to the project proposal. Initially, AHP planned to allot all 60 units of the Days Inn building for chronically homeless individuals – folks who have been homeless for at least one year and suffer from some sort of disability. Spoor said that AHP now plans to reserve 40 of the units for the chronically homeless and make 20 units available to other types of homeless people — those who have become unhoused more recently or do not suffer from any disabilities. Spoor hopes that this will help alleviate some community member’s concerns that the project may attract a certain type of homeless population. And Spoor says that listening to the community is something AHP will continue to do moving forward.

“We’re going to work really hard to let the community know we’re there and we’re going to help,” Spoor told the Outpost. “We are going to be part of the solution in Valley West.”

The Arcata City Council special meeting will be held over Zoom on Friday, Jan. 28 at noon. You can view the agenda and directions on how to participate here.