The Low Income Housing Institute has purchased for $20.2 million the Candlewood Suites in Lakewood, which will be converted into a shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County.
The shelter will be renamed Maureen Howard Place. It will have 77 suites for about 85 people including couples, singles, and those with pets. Six units will be converted into case-management offices, housing operations, and community space. Staff will be on site 24 hours a day. LIHI case managers will help clients obtain permanent housing, employment, health care, and other services, a release said.
“The building is named in honor of Maureen Howard, a fierce advocate for homeless people, who passed away in January," said Sharon Lee, LIHI executive director, in a prepared statement. "She did not just worry about people sleeping outside in the cold and rain but took action to mobilize more housing, shelters, and services for vulnerable people in Pierce County."
Maureen Howard Place is the second hotel and third property purchased by LIHI in Pierce County to help reduce homelessness. In 2021, LIHI purchased the Comfort Inn in Tacoma — renamed Aspen Court — and in 2022 the agency purchased Heron Apts., also in Tacoma.
Funding for the purchase of the Candlewood Suites came from the state Department of Commerce Right-of-Way program initiated by Gov. Jay Inslee and funded by the state legislature. The Washington State Department of Transportation will be referring people experiencing homelessness camping along state right-of-ways in Lakewood, Tacoma, and other parts of Pierce County.