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Flagstaff Shelter Services finalizes purchase of Route 66 motel

Shelter Services Motel
Flagstaff Shelter Services
The Howard Johnson Motel on Route 66 in Flagstaff used to be known as the Crown. It was purchased recently by Flagstaff Shelter Services for more than $6 million and will provide emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness with a focus on families, those who are immunocompromised and the elderly.

Flagstaff Shelter Services has finalized the purchase of a motel to serve as emergency housing for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. It’s expected to provide shelter for more than 1,000 people a year.

The $6.19 million purchase of the former Howard Johnson Motel on Route 66 in Flagstaff will make 58 rooms available for families, elderly residents and those who are immunocompromised.

“This acquisition fills a critical void in Flagstaff's housing landscape and allows FSS to better serve the community's needs," said FSS Director Ross Schaefer. “As the largest provider of services to homeless individuals and families in Northern Arizona, FSS remains on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, sheltering COVID positive individuals and families in private hotel rooms that enable them to effectively distance, thus minimizing the damage of the virus to the Flagstaff community at large."

Throughout the pandemic the shelter has paid to house many people with preexisting conditions in a local hotel to prevent them from contracting COVID-19. But representatives say the purchase of the property makes better fiscal sense.

Much of the funding comes from last year’s American Rescue Plan, which allocated $40 million to the Arizona Department of Housing for converting hotels into emergency housing for those experiencing homelessness.

Meals, medical care, behavioral health and rehousing services will be available to residents and representatives from groups like Native Americans for Community Action, North Country HealthCare and the Guidance Center will have a presence at the site.

Shelter Services will rename the facility the Crown after the original hotel located at the site. The group is also planning to partially restore the building to its Route 66 heyday. The facility will open next week.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.