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Many Norcross Families, Individuals Live in Extended-Stay Motels, Says Report
Barriers faced by residents of these establishments are overwhelmingly financial
Norcross, Ga. (May 22, 2019) -- A report released by a group of Norcross stakeholders reveals that many hard-working families and elderly individuals on a fixed income are living in extended-stay motels located within the city limits. The groundbreaking study sought to find out who lives in these establishments and what barriers they face to finding permanent housing.
The findings were based on a survey of the residents of nine extended-stay motels. The study found that nine of the 14 hotels located within city limits are primarily residential facilities. These nine motels account for 1,249 rooms for rent. Researchers surveyed residents of these hotels over six weekends in October and November 2018. Some 175 surveys were completed. The reasons patrons gave for moving into an extended-stay motel were overwhelmingly financial.
The study was conducted by LiveNorcross, a local program of the statewide Georgia Initiative for Community Housing that is supported by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Municipal Association and UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Through LiveNorcross, the city and community partners collaborate in pursuing innovative solutions centered around affordable housing that promote economic development and enhance the quality of life for all.
“We were very surprised by the results of this study,” said Lejla Prljaca, executive director of the Gwinnett Housing Corporation and a study co-author. “From previous homeless point-in-time counts, we knew these motels were a primary place of residence for many, but until now, we did not know the extent to which this was the case. We hope these findings expand our perception on housing insecurity in the suburbs and serve as a catalyst for more data-driven solutions.”
Norcross resident Kathleen Allen, who chairs the LiveNorcross Transient Housing Committee, said her children’s classmates inspired her to learn more about the families who live in extended-stay motels. “Too many families are precariously housed in extended-stay motels and want other housing options,” said Allen, who co-authored the study. “We hope this survey gives insights into the barriers to stable housing and potential policies that could help these neighbors of ours.”
Allen said that the quality of schools in Norcross keeps many of these families living in extended-stay motels. “Parents want to keep their kids in our schools, even when their low-wage incomes and the lack of affordable housing prevent them from buying or renting in Norcross,” she added.
The report’s title is When Extended-Stay Becomes Home. Highlights of the study include:
· 84% of respondents indicated that the extended-stay motel is their place of residence, and they are for the most part local Gwinnett families
· These residents have jobs, but they are struggling financially
· The main reason they can’t get out is because they can’t afford the upfront financial obligations they must fulfill to move into a rental unit
· 29% of the residents living in extended-stay hotels are ages 55 and up
· 69% have one or two full-time jobs, and only a small fraction receive any public assistance
To view the full report, visit https://gwinnetthousing.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/extended-stay-survey-report-052019.pdf
The City of Norcross was selected in 2017 to participate in a community development program that offers cities expertise and resources to address the need for more affordable housing. The city has partnered with schools, nonprofits and other community stakeholders to pursue innovative housing solutions that promote economic development and enhance the quality of life for all. The program is known as the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH). LiveNorcross is the name for the GICH program in Norcross.