TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — One Tallahassee hotel is taking advantage of a new ordinance in the city to allow commercial buildings to easily and quickly become housing.
The Days Inn on Apalachee Parkway will soon open up about 180 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Greg Lyon, a partner on the project, said this will bring housing to some people who are left behind in the current market.
"We look at this as workforce housing. We are targeting the sectors of the economy where there's certain layers of the employee marketplace that are not being correctly serviced by current apartment product," said Lyon.
Lyon says the goal is to house government workers, teachers, first responders, and retail workers.
City of Tallahassee Director of Housing and Community Resilience Abena Ojetayo says the goal of the ordinance is to find creative ways to address two issues- housing, and vacant buildings around the city. While any building could work, hotels are the main goal.
"The ideal situation is that a building like that would not need so much renovation. It would be cost-effective," said Ojetayo.
The city received $2.4 million dollars in 2020 to spend on housing, including more affordable housing options and addressing homelessness.
"Our goal is to do what the federal government aligns with; make homelessness as quick as possible, make sure a small population experiences it, and make sure they don't return to homelessness," said Ojetayo.
Another new program implemented under the City was the Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund. Christopher Daniels is a landlord with the program.
"I don't think people understand how big of a demand there is for housing right now," he said.
Daniels said he noticed the demand when 300 people applied to live in one of his apartments.
"Of course it's my apartment and I love it, but there's nothing that special about that apartment to have that many people apply. It just shows you how many people are looking for a place to live," he said.
The program will incentivize landlords who rent to riskier tenants, such as people who are homeless or have been evicted.
"There's a lot of people struggling with homelessness and there's a huge need for apartments. Especially affordable apartments," said Daniels.
There are $40 million dollars available in federal funding for the city currently. The staff hasn't decided how much of it will go towards housing but anticipates spending something close to what they spent last year.