At the last City Council agenda meeting of the year, Dallas beat the deadline to properly use federal COVID-19 relief money with the purchase of two hotels as quarantine space.
The purchases will serve a dual purpose.
The hotels will initially house homeless people who test positive for the COVID-19 and after the pandemic has passed, they would become much needed rapid rehousing facilities for homeless people, which the city has been unable to fund in the past.
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And the arrangement pleases some neighbors.
Hotel Miramar on Fort Worth Avenue in Oak Cliff has an excellent Dallas skyline view, but the decaying building has been a nuisance to neighbors in the upscale community around the old hotel.
Officials said more than 300 calls for police were recorded there in the past four years.
“Hundreds of citizens have reached out to me during our two community meetings and with texts and emails,” City Councilman Chad West said.
Some of those people see the city as a savior.
“We have a chance to make a difference with funding that would take years to raise privately,” neighbor Alice Zaccarello said.
The future city plan for homeless rapid rehousing would not operate as a walk-up shelter.
“While the city's proposal may not turn this hotel into a Chipotle with a Trader Joe’s and Starbucks inside as some might prefer, it will stabilize this property's decline and allow better eyes on what goes on inside,” neighbor Brad Nitschke said.
Steve Bryan has been a resident of the hotel for the past five years, but he supported the city plan, too.
“I might have to move one day but I plan on moving anyway and getting an apartment,” he said. “I think it's a good plan to buy this place and help people that need, that needs to be helped.”
The Dallas City Council agreed to spend more than $3 million in federal relief money on Hotel Miramar and more than $6 million for the Candlewood Suites on Preston Road at the George Bush Turnpike in far north Dallas.
The city has lined up contractors to operate the COVID-19 quarantine operations. Other arrangements could be made after the pandemic to operate the buildings as homeless housing.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.