The homelessness association’s hotel-to-housing conversion welcomes its first tenants


A South Shore homeless service provider has completed renovations to the first 24 studio apartments of a Brockton hotel which it is converting into permanent supportive housing for people exiting homelessness. Ten tenants moved in this week.

Father Bill’s and MainSpring began renting the hotel, the Rodeway Inn, in the summer of 2020 to make his nearby adult emergency shelter less crowded during the pandemic. Later he bought the hotel with the intention of converting it into accommodation.

This is the first time a homeless service provider in Massachusetts has converted a former hotel into permanent, supportive housing for people who were previously homeless. The building, now known as Roadway Apartments, will have 69 apartments when completed. Tenants will have case managers and receive support services to help them stay connected to medical care, addiction treatment, job training, budgeting assistance, and other resources.

Some of the tenants have been homeless for a long time. Others have become homeless during the pandemic, according to April Connolly, chief operating officer of Father Bill’s & MainSpring.

“Really seeing these beautiful units come online and people having the ability to consider themselves really settled into their new homes, in a time frame that’s at breakneck speed compared to other affordable housing projects, is really exciting,” Connolly said, adding that it would normally take three to four years to develop a building with this number of efficient apartments.

It is also much cheaper than most other affordable housing developments. At around $150,000 per unit — less than half the typical cost — the total price is around $10 million, according to Connolly. Most of that comes from public funds through the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, she said. A few private grants also helped fund the development.

Delores Domenico, 73, is one of the tenants who moved in this week. She first became homeless last May when the house in Stoughton where she had rented a flat for 17 years burned down. His mother died in the fire and Domenico says she lost all her possessions. The only money she had saved, $2,000 in federal stimulus payments, was frozen in her mother’s bank account, which she does not yet have access to.

At first, it was difficult living in the MainSpring shelter, Domenico said. Although she has adjusted and made friends, she is happy to be in her own space again.

“It’s really cute. It’s a small studio – just a bed, a kitchenette and a bathroom,” Domenico said. “But at least after being in a shelter for six months, it’s nice and quiet… I can come and go as I please. There are a lot of restrictions that I don’t have here, that I had at the shelter.

As is the norm in subsidized housing, she pays around a third of her monthly income for rent – ​​in her case, just over $200. It’s the perfect place to get back on your feet and be able to redo some cooking, she says. She hopes to be able to move into a subsidized one-bedroom apartment before long.

Hotel rooms are being renovated into efficiency apartments while shelter guests still live in the other rooms that have yet to be converted. Father Bill’s & MainSpring expects all units to be converted and guests to move in by this spring.


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