A few weeks ago, I got a message from a reporter friend that GPD was going to do training exercises with explosives at the Coliseum Inn. The reporter asked if I knew where the residents had gone and if the City had made accommodations for them. I messaged a police officer friend who was online. He’s a member of GPD’s Special Response Team, and he told me that yes, indeed, he was going to be blowing some stuff up at the Coliseum Inn the next day. He was pretty excited. (Me, too. And jealous. Why don’t I get to do cool stuff like that?) I said that I assumed that meant all the residents were out of the hotel? And he said, “Yeah, I guess so. I think they’ve been out.” I was a little surprised. I hadn’t heard anything about the hotel residents leaving. Apparently, my reporter friend hadn’t either.
Back in early August, when I first heard that the City was in talks to buy the Coliseum Inn, I met with the director and staff of the City’s Housing and Community Development department, to share my concerns about where the hotels residents would go. Our street outreach teams have visited the hotel and I knew that there were families with children there, disabled folks who were one step from homelessness, and homeless people who lived at the hotel when they had money and on the street the rest of the time. City staff seemed interested in helping residents find new places to stay.
On Nov. 18th, Council voted to buy the hotel, along with the Canada Dry property across the street. I talked to a City staff person around that time, to see how plans were progressing for assisting the residents, and was told that it would probably be some time before all the plans were completed and residents had to move. So it was surprising to hear, less than two months later, that the hotel was empty and the residents gone. I contacted several City staffers, asking about the relocation of the residents.
I got a couple of responses referring me to other folks, and then today, this response from Dyan Arkin:
Cyndi passed your message on to me awhile back, so I asked Guy Land, our relocation specialist, to put together a summary of the outcomes from the relocation assistance offered to tenants of the Coliseum Inn. No monetary benefits were applicable under the City’s relocation policy, so assistance was given in the form of referrals to other housing options or social service agencies, as appropriate.
There were 26 identified residential tenants at the time of acquisition and two businesses.
- 12 tenants moved to Cavalier Inn
- 4 tenants moved to Budget Inn
- 3 tenants moved to Fairview Inn
- 3 tenants moved to Greensboro Inn
- 1 tenant moved to Executive Inn
- 2 tenants moved to private housing
- 1 tenant moved to a rooming house
Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks.
Dyan Arkin, AICP
Community Planner/Development Coordinator
Housing & Community Development Department
City of Greensboro
P. O. Box 3136, Greensboro, NC 27402.3136
Ph: 336.433.7377 Fax: 336.412.6315 Mobile 336.362.7226
Be like an eye always seeing your own faults; but be like a blind person towards the faults of others. – Atisha
It’s good to hear that all 26 of these residents were relocated (although the hotels that some residents moved to are fairly comparable to the Coliseum Inn), but 26 sounds like a very low number of residents, based on the number of folks we saw at the hotel when we did outreaches there. I wonder if the number of residents at the hotel declined as folks heard about its imminent closing?
I responded to Dyan’s email and asked if there were any families with children among the relocated 26, and if so, were arrangements made (under the provisions of the federal McKinney-Vento Act) for those children to continue in their current schools after they relocated? Earlier, I had spoken to an elementary school teacher who told me that students from that school were living at the Coliseum Inn, but I don’t know if they had moved already or were part of the final 26 folks. I’ll post Dyan’s reply when I receive it.
UPDATE: There’s more to the story. A homeless friend reports that some of the Coliseum Inn’s former residents, including children, are homeless and living outside or in cars since the City bought and closed the hotel. Read more here.