A Motel 6 in east Vancouver will be used to temporarily house homeless people impacted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
On Monday, Clark County entered a $608,880 contract that leases the entire 118-room motel through the end of June. The county will use 116 rooms for housing.
The cost is covered by the $1.1 million that the county received from the Washington State Department of Commerce last month. The agency disbursed $30 million statewide to provide housing and other assistance for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rooms at Motel 6 will be used to quarantine those who have contacted someone with COVID-19 or people who have the virus and need a place to recover in isolation.
The Columbian obtained a copy of the contract with Motel 6 through a public records request, which says the county will pay $60 per night per room. It says Motel 6 is responsible for maintenance and habitability of the rooms. It also says the county will enter into a contract with a third party to provide room cleaning services. If the motel needs to do maintenance, the county must relocate guests and sanitize the rooms.
Motel 6 opened its Chkalov Drive location in October 2007, according to The Columbian archives. H&R Management Inc., which is governed by Hitesh “Henry” Patel, runs the motel at 221 N.E. Chaklov Drive. The name of the motel was on signage earlier this week.
Patel said the Motel 6 is the only area motel he owns. The contract with the county came together quickly.
“We’re just here to help them and fight this thing together,” he said.
The contract caps Clark County Community Services’ multiweek search for suitable buildings to be used as temporary emergency housing.
Five staff members were hired to assist people staying at the motel and connect them with other community resources. Motel guests will receive meals and snacks from Meals on Wheels People, the area nonprofit providing meals to homebound seniors. A contract with American Medical Transport for transportation services is being finalized.
People cannot refer themselves to the motel. A service provider, hospital or Clark County Public Health must refer individuals to the facility through Council for the Homeless. They would identify unhoused people who need to quarantine — but do not require medical treatment — due to COVID-19.
Clark County Public Health declined to say whether anyone experiencing homelessness has tested positive for the virus. The agency has provided gender and age by decade for all confirmed cases.
“Housing status isn’t typically something we disclose about cases of other illnesses, and we’re following those same guidelines,” Marissa Harshman, spokeswoman for Public Health, said in an email. “If we were concerned about an exposure at a shelter or were seeing a cluster of cases in a facility, we would try to release that information in a way that doesn’t compromise privacy.”