VIHFA Buys Villa Morales, a St. Croix Landmark, For Homeless Housing

Villa Morales property is now a two-story guesthouse

The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority recently finalized the purchase of the Villa Morales property on St. Croix with 2018 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. A total of $600,000 was allocated for the acquisition, architectural services and rehabilitation. The facility will provide up to 20 emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing for the homeless, according to VIHFA.

“We’re excited about the acquisition of the Villa Morales property, which will provide shelter for the homeless population on St. Croix,” said VIHFA Executive Director Daryl Griffith.

Villa Morales Restaurant outdoor dining area

“The Authority is committed to helping reduce homelessness throughout the territory. I co-chair the Virgin Islands Interagency Council on Homelessness, which was recently re-established by Governor Albert Bryan. I am happy to report back to the council that the facility will soon be open to house our most vulnerable. We will be able to transform this cultural landmark into a shelter that directly benefits the St. Croix community,” Griffith said.

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The Authority will enter into a collaborative partnership with a non-profit, community-based organization to manage the facility and provide wrap-around services. A portion of the facility is projected to be in service in early 2020, following some minor rehabilitation to the property.

(L to R) Tamisha Thomas, CDBG program manager; Flavia Logie, HFA legal counsel; JT Torres, Angela Morales; and HFA Executive Director Griffith

The property, formerly known as the Villa Morales Restaurant and Guesthouse, located at 82A, B and C Estate Whim, includes a single-family residence; one two-story guesthouse with eight efficiency housing units; one main restaurant building with a large dining area and adjacent outdoor decks; and a several outbuildings and storage areas. The property also has a vast area of vacant land prime for future development.

Closing the sale of the property has been in process for over a year. The acquisition is a part of the 2018 Community Development Block Grant cycle, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the V.I. Housing Finance Authority.

The project was delivered on time in accordance with the Dec. 31, 2019 target date outlined in the action plan.

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