September 21, 2020
State Awards $37.7 Million in ‘Homekey’ Funds to Transform Two Hotels into Housing for San Diegans Experiencing Homelessness
The San Diego City Council will consider the proposed hotel purchases in October
SAN DIEGO, CA — The proposed purchase of two San Diego hotels to create more than 330 permanent rental housing units for San Diegans experiencing homelessness received additional financial support today with Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the State has awarded $37.7 million in Project Homekey funds to support the purchase.
“San Diego has proven we can put State dollars to action on programs and services that reduce homelessness. We have the real opportunity to house hundreds of individuals with these two hotels, and the Project Homekey grants will go a long way toward achieving that,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said.
The proposed purchase of the Residence Inn Hotel Circle and Residence Inn Kearny Mesa will be presented to the San Diego City Council for consideration next month.
“The lack of housing options for our unsheltered residents is a humanitarian crisis, and confronting it is a top priority,” said City Council President Georgette Gómez. “The clear solution is more homes, and so the announcement that the City of San Diego will receive substantial funding from Project Homekey to create new apartments with supportive services for some of our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors is very exciting news. I’m grateful to Governor Newsom and State leaders for partnering with us on this critical and meaningful program.”
Residents of the properties would include individuals currently staying at Operation Shelter to Home at the San Diego Convention Center, which opened on April 1, 2020, as a temporary shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic that serves approximately 1,100 per day. Operation Shelter to Home is a collaboration among the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, SDHC, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), the San Diego Convention Center and homeless service providers.
“Securing two hotels, and bringing online over 330 permanent supportive housing units, is another example of our region implementing recognized best practices to protect the most vulnerable among us during COVID-19,” said City Councilmember Chris Ward, who also serves as Chair of RTFH. “I applaud Governor Newsom for establishing Project Homekey, as well as the City of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission for their work to secure the hotels for this program.”
The State awarded the funds based on applications the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) submitted through a competitive, first come, first served process.
“The State’s decision to award these funds reflects the great, collaborative work between the City and the Housing Commission that has been put into identifying these properties as outstanding opportunities to quickly provide housing and supportive services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “I thank Governor Newsom and State lawmakers for their leadership in establishing Project Homekey.”
The SDHC Board of Commissioners voted 6-0 on Friday, September 18, 2020, to recommend that the City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, authorize the purchase of Residence Inn Hotel Circle and Residence Inn Kearny Mesa.
The purchase of the two properties would create 332 permanent supportive housing units, with 72 of the units having two bedrooms, for a capacity to provide housing for more than 400 individuals. The units were determined to require minimal work to be able to move in. No comprehensive rehabilitation of the properties is necessary. The Hotel Circle property was built in 2003; the Kearny Mesa property was built in 1990 and underwent a renovation in 2013.
The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors voted unanimously August 25, 2020, to approve Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s request to authorize $5.4 million to fund essential supportive services for the individuals who would reside at the properties.
One of the main objectives of Operation Shelter to Home is to streamline how persons experiencing homelessness access housing resources and move them quickly into permanent housing. So far, Housing Navigation Teams, led by SDHC and RTFH, have helped more than 600 people secure housing.
Through the Project Homekey program, the State is making $600 million in grant funding available to local public entities in California, including cities, counties or housing authorities. These grant funds may be used to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings, and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing.
SDHC’s proposed purchase of the properties would advance the goals of the City of San Diego Community Action Plan on Homelessness, which the City Council adopted in October 2019. The plan identifies near-term and 10-year goals, including the critical need to increase permanent supportive housing by 2,659 units for individuals experiencing homelessness within a decade, with 60 percent of those units (1,595) to be developed within the first four years.
Office of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer: Ashley Bailey at (619) 392-0686 or [email protected]
Office of Council President Georgette Gómez: David Rolland at (619) 533-5897 or [email protected]
Office of Councilmember Chris Ward: Ansermio “AJ” Estrada at (619) 227 0421 or [email protected]
San Diego Housing Commission: Scott Marshall at (619) 578-7138 or [email protected]