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Red Carpet Inn in beginning stages of becoming a new shelter

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Red Carpet Inn on Route 29 in Albemarle County is being transformed into a new living space that could ease homelessness in our area.

The site will soon be Premiere Circle, a short and long-term living facility for those at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness.

“One of the things that’s just so exciting is that this project addresses immediate needs for shelter, permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless folks, but also affordable housing which our community also direly needs,” said Anthony Haro with the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless.

Between now and 2023, 115 rooms will be used for emergency, non-congregate shelter with staff and management provided by People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM). Some of those currently staying with hotels partnering with PACEM will likely be able to move in as early as May 1.

“We’re talking about this incredible expansion and availability so that hopefully no individuals experiencing homelessness in the area will be out on the streets,” said PACEM Executive Director Jayson Whitehead.

During that time, Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH) will being constructing 80 permanent supportive housing units, which will allow people to live in the space for several years.

“We often prioritize chronic homelessness, that’s the group we want to address first, followed by homeless individuals and we typically have a few units in a building that are for someone who’s low income,” said Julie Anderson with VSH.

By 2026, 60 affordable-housing apartments will be constructed as part of the development. Commercial space will also be included in the plans.

“Our hope and our goal is to strive for that commercial space to be somehow beneficial to the new residents who are going to be living on site,” said Sunshine Mathon with Piedmont Housing Alliance.

Those working on the project say the more units available, the less people living on the streets.

“This will get us right to the doorstep, locally, of reaching an end of chronic homelessness,” Haro said.

Those involved with the project said they are working with people moving out of the Red Carpet Inn to make sure they have a safe place to live.

People will be able to move into available units while development is being completed. The final phase of the project is planned to be finished by December 2026.

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