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Camilla Care

Homeless heroes looking to purchase a hotel in the area to house veterans

Vaseline 1 month ago

Just a year after a location fell through due to transitional housing for veterans, Homeless Heroes is now close to securing a location directly across from the Thomas E Creek Amarillo Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Amarillo Boulevard.

Last January, the Potter County Commissioners’ Court agreed to donate approximately 10 acres of land in the Willow Creek Area to the president and founder of Homeless Heroes to create a small home community for veterans. Once approved, area residents complained about the potential impact on their neighborhood, citing a lack of infrastructure, safety concerns, loss of property value and distance from veterans services. After a heated debate, the issue was brought back to court.

At the next meeting, Commissioners John Coffee and H.R. Kelly voted to rescind the land donation, but a 3-2 vote affirmed the earlier decision. Once the court confirmed the donation, Coffee strongly urged Tiffaney Belflower to reject the offer of land, but encouraged people to make it happen to support homeless veterans.

So after a year of searching for a new home to realize her project, Belflower said she got the idea for the location after driving by it every day and not seeing many people at the Astro Hotel. She said she thought it might no longer be in use as there were no cars parked outside. Belflower then inquired about the property so that an estate agent could possibly purchase it, with the owner being very receptive to the idea.

“We are currently under contract to purchase the Astro Hotel, which is directly across from the VA, which is a phenomenal location to support the veterans we will house,” Belflower said. We are about halfway to our fundraising goal to purchase the property, with just over a month to go.”

Belflower has been planning for more than eight years to try to make her vision of creating housing for homeless veterans a reality, and she sees this property as a perfect location to provide temporary shelter and resources to those who need it. The current plan is to convert the hotel into 14 one-bedroom apartments for veterans, with the potential for more.

“We had to adapt our vision of a tiny home community accordingly because finding a meaningful location was always a challenge,” she said. “With all the setbacks from the Willow Creek Plan, there were many opportunities to educate the community on what we wanted to achieve by going with an existing building, can we make this happen without all the challenges that the Willow Creek project has presented financially and infrastructure-wise? would have brought along.

All will be one bedroom, one bath and HUD compatible, with a community center located in the center of the apartments, with offices to bring in resources and a common area for group gatherings. The goal of Homeless Heroes is to provide resources for residents to find employment and permanent housing. It hopes veterans will live in the community for about 12 to 24 months, with a view to a permanent solution.

With this project, Homeless Heroes is looking for construction partners and sponsorship for the building who will sponsor rooms individually.

“At Willow Creek, we had respondents saying we don’t want it in our backyard, put it in yours, and our new location is about five blocks from where I live,” Belflower said. “We have received many positive comments from the community at our new location, with only one person expressing dissatisfaction with our new location. Everyone supports us and this location is ideal because it is an existing building.”

Even though the motel wasn’t actively for sale, Belflower said they really supported the idea after talking to the owner.

“They enjoy taking part in this. It was truly something from God,” Belflower added.

Now the biggest challenge for Belflower and her organization is raising the remainder of the financing needed to close the deal for the Astro Motel.

“We have such a short window to be able to do this, but we are working with various fundraisers and other organizations to make this happen,” she said. “There are many people pledging support to help, but right now we need to raise another $270,000 to make this dream a reality and help these veterans.”

Belflower emphasizes that this is all about the veterans and creating a space where they can receive the services they need.

Sunday’s Sod Poodles match will feature Homeless Heroes, with Belflower showing her mettle and throwing out the first pitch to raise awareness of the organization. There will also be a drive-thru fundraiser at the Astro Hotel at 5703 West Amarillo Blvd. On Friday, people can tour the location and enjoy local food trucks while helping the organization.

Belflower said she was inspired to start her organization by the services of some of her family members and seeing veterans experiencing homelessness, which significantly influenced her desire to be part of a solution to the problem.

“Our mission is to create a housing-first philosophy-based solution to end literal homelessness for area veterans that is strategically based and built around camaraderie and hopes to make a significant impact on the vibrant tapestry of the Amarillo community,” said Belflower. “We want to work with everyone to make this possible for those who have served this country. We will work with every entity to get roofs to these people.”

To learn more about the organization or to donate, visit https://www.facebook.com/homelessheroesofamarillo.