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$38M State Grant Will Speed Old Smuggler’s Inn Housing Conversion

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Additional funding by the state is on the way to help efforts to expand Fresno's stock of permanent affordable housing.(GV Wire File)
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A $38.3 million state grant will help speed up the conversion of the former Smuggler’s Inn into permanent affordable housing for homeless people in Fresno.

Previously, the former hotel was updated and renovated to give homeless people longer-term, immediate housing, and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the unhoused. It’s new name is Crossroads Village.

“The county of Fresno’s partnership with UPholdings and RH Community Builders for the Crossroads Village development will provide quality housing for individuals and families to attain stable and permanent housing,” said Fresno County Board of Supervisor Nathan Magsig after the grant was announced on Thursday.

How Will State Funding Help Crossroads Village?

Located on the southwest corner of Blackstone and Dakota Avenues in Fresno, Crossroads Village will be transformed into 141 units of permanent affordable housing with 1- 2- and 3- bedroom apartments and two property manager units.

The site’s previous renovations were updated with the help from the state’s Homekey program through the Department of Housing and Community Development.

The program is part of a statewide effort to help rapidly expand housing for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Crossroads Housing Transitions From Temporary to Permanent

Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza previously revealed plans to repurpose the former hotel’s lobby into a multi-use community center.

“The vision, in general, for the central and southern portion of Blackstone Avenue is to fulfill the vision for mixed-use development that is outlined in the general plan,” Esparza told the media last year.

“Long term, we are working toward a thriving corridor full of commercial, market-rate housing, and traditional affordable housing.”

A gated swimming pool is one of the amenities at Crossroads Village. (GV Wire File)

Next Steps in Renovations

Many updates have already taken place, with the addition of studio units, private bathrooms, showers, and a kitchen area, a community green space, pool, BBQs, laundry facilities, and a business center.

The next round of renovations to the units will include adding kitchens, private exterior entrances, and balconies. The construction timeless calls for starting in spring 2023 and wrapping up in 18 months.

What Will Happen to Current Residents?

Once the renovations are completed, Crossroads Village tenants will transition to offsite permanent affordable housing or be temporarily relocated.

Some, however, will be given top priority to lease a converted apartment.

Wraparound support services will continue to be available to tenants due to a 20-year commitment by the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health.

Liz Juarez joined GV Wire in July, 2021 as a Digital News Producer. She has experience working for publications around the Central Valley including the Clovis Roundup, Porterville Recorder and Hanford Sentinel. While in college, she interned for Mountain West Athletics and served as Outreach Chair for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Liz earned a bachelor's degree in Media Communications and Journalism at Fresno State and a master's degree in Communications from Arizona State University. In her down time, she enjoys reading, drawing and staying active by playing basketball, taking trips to the coast and visiting national parks. You can contact Liz at liz.juarez@gvwire.com