INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A program that brings hundreds of homeless people to individual hotel rooms is designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Many of the people staying in the hotels were told that they would eventually have access to permanent housing, but fewer than 100 people have found permanent homes months after the program started.
On Wednesday, 50 people were at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis-Airport Hotel, along with about a dozen others from another long-term homeless program. The number of people in the hotel has decreased since winter.
The money from the Coronavirus Law on Aid, Aid and Economic Security (CARES) passed in March 2020 initially provided the residents with rent, food and social services. Now a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and $ 2,000,000 from the city budget are paying the bills. The city expects to win back a huge chunk of the $ 2 million federal government.
The cost of maintaining the housing, which the city has designated as non-conregant, is nearly $ 600,000 per month.
So far, almost 350 people have been accommodated in hotels that the city has rented. Only the Crowne Plaza is still in use. Many participants in the program were hoping for permanent housing, but News 8 was told that only 80 people were being housed in permanent housing.
“Total spending on homeless shelters and related services so far is approximately $ 11 million,” said Matt Giffin, of the city government’s public health and safety department.
When this hotel was first rented in July, News 8 was told it was a short-term deal that will be closed by the spring.
Griffin said Wednesday, “We can downsize to a smaller hotel property or get to a point where there are enough residents that the hotel is no longer needed.”
The city is not adding more people to the program, but funding from the American Rescue Plan, the most recent coronavirus relief plan approved in March, could extend the Indianapolis homeless housing program through the summer.