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Q: Have neighbors expressed any concerns about the conversion to an emergency shelter? 

A: Overall, we have gotten a lot of positive support from the Flagstaff community. We are pursuing historic preservation funding to create a facility and surrounding site the neighboring community can be proud of. There have been some concerns about the future of the long-standing restaurant that has been in operation on site since the Crown Hotel’s origins. We are working with the family which operates the restaurant to provide support and flexibility to maintain their presence.

Q: Bushmaster Park is within walking distance and there is a history of transients populating the park. How will the new shelter located so nearby not exacerbate this problem?

A: The expansion of our current Flagstaff Shelter Services facility in 2019 and the addition of the Crown site provide greater capacity for overnight shelter, medical and behavioral services for those experiencing homelessness. These facilities provide an alternative to those who would otherwise need to find such shelter in public spaces.

Q: My home is nearby, and it is already valued well below the Flagstaff average home market value. How will the addition of a shelter so nearby not impact my home’s value?

A: The adjacent area does currently provide some of the more affordable housing available in Flagstaff. We believe that the permanence and stability we help provide along the commercial corridor plus planned capital improvements and historic preservation to the site will help preserve, if not improve, the area’s value relative to the overall Flagstaff housing market.

Q: Why did you decide to purchase a hotel and convert it into an emergency shelter?

A: During the pandemic, we coordinated the use of multiple hotels to provide emergency shelter to more than 200 people from groups who were the most susceptible to the virus — the elderly, immunocompromised and families with young children.  It is far more efficient to focus on the needs of these groups in a facility where  we have greater scheduling control. While a congregant (group) setting can be a more efficient use of space to provide services and shelter to a large segment of those experiencing homelessness, there is also a specific need for non-congregant shelter services among the elderly, immunocompromised and families with young children who need more privacy or specialized attention.

Q: Why not add on to the existing shelter?

A: There simply was not sufficient space at the current site to expand to meet both capacity of need of those experiencing homelessness and the specific needs of the elderly, immunocompromised and families. We could accomplish both by acquiring the Crown site and were able to take advantage of federal and state funding specifically earmarked for repurposing a hotel site. We believe that the permanence and stability we help provide to the area plus planned capital improvements and historic preservation to the site will help bring welcome and needed improvements to the area.

Q: How does the new shelter facility work in tandem with the existing shelter facility?

A: The new Crown shelter site will focus on providing emergency shelter for the elderly, immunocompromised and families. The existing shelter site will continue to provide overnight shelter for all individuals experiencing homelessness regardless of sobriety or any other medical conditions so long as they do not present an immediate threat of harm to our staff or clients.  

Q: What type of clients are more likely to be sent to the Crown shelter?

A: The new Crown hotel shelter site will focus on providing emergency shelter for the elderly, immunocompromised and families.

Q: The existing shelter is in a largely industrial/business park area, so it has little residential impact. This facility borders a neighborhood of single-family homes. Won’t it have a greater impact on the surrounding area?

A: The Crown shelter site will provide added stability to a long-standing, busy commercial corridor along Route 66. The residential neighborhood behind the location should have no greater impact than was experienced from the previous hotel located there. In addition to the natural buffering the commercial corridor provides, we are planning to construct walls/fencing and plant landscaping to provide added buffering.

Q: Are you increasing staff levels to handle the increased capacity?

A: Yes, we will add staff and adjust staff scheduling so the Crown site, like our existing shelter site, will provide services to the elderly, immunocompromised and families experiencing homelessness. Staff will be onsite 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Q: You mention the hotel facility will eventually be transitioned to affordable housing. Can you tell me more about what you’re envisioning?

A: For the time being, the Crown site will provide emergency shelter for the elderly, immunocompromised and families experiencing homelessness, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During the pandemic, we coordinated the use of multiple hotels to meet the needs of more than 200 individuals from these groups who were the most susceptible to the virus. Longer term, we recognize that Flagstaff has a very concerning lack of affordable housing for all area residents. This is an even more dire situation for those experiencing homelessness. Pending additional funding, our vision is to continue to make capital improvements to the site and the commercial corridor and eventually to use the Crown hotel facility to provide transitional, permanent affordable housing for the population we serve. 

Q: Would the addition of future transitional, affordable housing nearby not have a negative impact on local home values?

A: The adjacent area does currently provide some of the more affordable housing available in Flagstaff. We believe that the permanence and stability we help provide along the commercial corridor plus planned capital improvements and historic preservation to the site will help preserve, if not improve, the area’s value relative to the overall Flagstaff housing market.

Better together

Small acts of kindness can make big things happen. Check out some simple things you can do that will get us one step closer to eliminating homelessness in Flagstaff.