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A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Santa Fe Converts Route 66 Hotel to Affordable Housing


Wednesday, June 1, 2022   

The conversion of a 60-year-old Santa Fe hotel should offer those seeking affordable housing, including the city's homeless community, a new lease on life.

The Lamplighter Inn, on what was originally Route 66, will be remodeled into a mix of 58 studio and one-bedroom apartments. A broad coalition, including the housing consulting group Project Moxie, is part of the initiative. Matt Lynn, Moxie's director of community engagement, said he expects the facility to open sometime in 2023.

"This is going to prevent people from falling into homelessness," he said. "These are modestly sized units that are renting at a very affordable price compared to the market rate in Santa Fe. This gives them the stability of having a safe place to sleep at night."

The Biden administration has made federal stimulus funds available for hotel conversion projects. Potential residents need to earn less than 80% of the Area Median Income, or about $41,000 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rent for the Lamplighter housing units will initially range from $725 to $825 a month.

The hotel was purchased with the conversion in mind by a group that includes Anchorum St. Vincent. Jerry Jones, Anchorum's interim president and chief executive, said he believes the collaboration could be a great model for other communities.

"Because you have a service provider, you have the nonprofits, you have the for-profits, you have the governmental entities," he said, "it's a great template for us to hopefully address future inventory in a similar way."

Lynn said hotel conversions are a cost-effective and timely way to address housing shortages, especially with current inflation and supply-chain issues.

"We're not going to be opening up our doors tomorrow, but it's going to move faster than if we had scraped the property and started fresh," he said. "It's a way to quickly get units on the market."

The Lamplighter housing also is located next to Life Link, which offers services to break cycles of chronic homelessness, mental illness, trauma, exploitation and addiction. To that end, 25% of the units will be set aside for people who require supportive services to remain stably housed.

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