Clark County eyes old hotels, motels as one solution to housing shortage

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Clark County officials are looking at one creative option to tackle the rental crisis and housing shortage across the Las Vegas Valley: rehabilitating and repurposing old, vacant hotels and motels.

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Motels in downtown Las Vegas. 

Before the pandemic, Clark County officials estimated the valley lacks 75,000 units of affordable housing. “Affordable housing” units are meant to help those who spend more than 30% or more of their income on rent.

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“We need density of housing. Finding old motels, and converting them over into livable family units is a viable option for our community,” said Tim Burch of Clark County’s human services.

Since the pandemic hit, Burch said more than 100,000 people in the valley spend more than 30% of their income on rent. About 50,000 people are spending 70% or more of their income on rent, he said.

Clark County officials said plans are underway to build new housing, but converting old properties helps alleviate the current crisis more quickly.

“The structure is there. If it can be refreshed, its cheaper than what’s called a ‘stick build,’ from the ground up,” Burch said.

Clark County designated $150 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to assist in creating more affordable housing.

Organizations like Help of Southern Nevada say creative solutions are needed to solve the current housing crisis. More than 3,200 people and families are on a waiting list for housing.

“We just don’t have the supply to meet the demand,” Kelly Robson of HELP said, noting that many who are on Social Security or disability funds receive about $794 a month.

“The average rent for a one bedroom right now is $1,500,” she said.

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