The Centre City Development Corporation is getting creative as it considers remedies for the city’s homeless problem.
CCDC officials have met with local Navy administrators to discuss the possibility of converting a decommissioned warship into a permanent shelter, complete with supportive and rehabilitative services, to house some of the city’s thousands of homeless.
“It’s very, very preliminary and we’re just doing some research,” said Jeff Graham, CCDC vice president of redevelopment.
Graham said the agency was monitoring the efforts of a nonprofit religious organization in Hawaii that has been working to acquire the retired destroyer USS Acadia, docked in Oahu’s Pearl Harbor, for a similar use.
Federal law currently only provides for three uses for decommissioned warships. They can be sold to an allied nation, used as sinks to create manmade reefs, or donated to nonprofits for conversion to museums. Turning a warship into housing would require an act of Congress to change the federal law.
In Hawaii, the Navy responded to the project’s proponents by asking for a hazardous material remediation analysis and detailed business plans.