The historic 66 Motel in Flagstaff, Arizona, is being turned by a nonprofit group into a place for affordable rental housing until its residents can save enough money for better rentals or a down payment on a home.
And the nonprofit, ANEW Living, wants to do the same thing to other distressed motels along Route 66 in Flagstaff.
ANEW Living has this on its What We Do page:
ANEW Living offers a unique approach to meeting the housing needs of our community by converting older distressed motels into affordable housing alternatives. The rooms and small apartments available at ANEW Living are offered as a step up from the traditional transitional housing facilities while continuing to provide on-site services geared towards renewing and restoring hope to individuals and families seeking to end their cycle of homelessness and build pathways to a healthy productive lifestyle promoting self-sufficiency.
According to a story in the Arizona Daily Sun, the 66 Motel started its lease with the nonprofit this month. ANEW is negotiating for a lease-to-own agreement. The motel offers 20 rooms for 40 people, ranging from efficiency to apartment-size. Rates are $600 to $800 a month, with a $10 a month free for Internet.
The 66 Motel hasn’t seen a lot of maintenance in recent years. So residents who pitch in with various renovations or repairs have their rental payments lowered. The ReStore at Habitat for Humanity has donated building supplies.
And the motel doesn’t take just anyone:
The potential residents will be referred from agencies that have transition programs and work with people who are working their way to independence and self-sufficiency – Catholic Charities, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Veterans Resource Center, and Dorsey Manor and Hope Cottage at Sunshine Rescue Mission, Inc. The advisory board for ANEW is made up of representatives from those referring agencies. The people who stay at ANEW will have to demonstrate income, and if they have mental health or substance abuse issues, must establish that they are stabilized.
Officials with ANEW say the program is needed because rental rates in the region often are too high for people with blue-collar jobs.
Lori Barlow, executive director of ANEW Living, is living on the premises in a small apartment next to the main office. She said one room at the motel will be devoted to a variety of counseling services — including household finances, job interviews, cooking on a budget, computer skills, etc.
The 66 Motel was loaded with residents with drug and alcohol problems before ANEW leased it. Those residents, according to the report, have moved on.
ANEW also has a list of items it needs at the motel, if you want to donate them and help it out.
A few people may grouse the 66 Motel has been removed as an option for overnight stays in Flagstaff. However, the city has an overabundance of motels and not enough tourists to fill them. This new way to use a historic property is sensible and admirable — much in the way NewLife Homes has done with two Route 66 motels in Albuquerque.
And Route 66 towns with a lot of old motels that aren’t being used ought to take a hard look at Flagstaff and Albuquerque and steal a few ideas.