Homekey Hits Milestone: 15,000 Homes Created Since Program Began

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – Since the start of Homekey, the state has rapidly transformed office spaces, hotels, and other unused buildings into housing, creating more than 15,000 housing units to serve over 163,000 people experiencing homelessness.

In Costa Mesa on Thursday, Governor Newsom toured a former Motel 6 that has been converted into 40 permanent Homekey units, primarily for veterans at risk of homelessness with an additional 10 units for individuals that meet the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) eligibility criteria. Each unit includes kitchenettes, appliances, and furniture among other features.

“Homekey is a national model for rapidly creating affordable housing for Californians in need. In a few short years, this initiative has created more than 15,000 homes, to help over 163,000 people. Homekey demonstrates what is possible when people think outside the box and refuse to accept the status quo,” Governor Newsom said.

At this stop, the Governor also announced the latest awardees to receive grant funding from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). These communities include Oakland, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and the counties of Lassen and Marin. This funding will support six projects in total at a cost of nearly $95.6 million and will create 396 affordable homes.

“Over a three-year period, Homekey has funded projects that will provide housing security to more than 163,000 Californians over the decades to come,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez.

Velasquez added, “The current set of awards includes housing dedicated to veterans, and the conversion of a shuttered hospital to shelter those experiencing homelessness. This program has allowed jurisdictions to get creative with adaptive reuse of existing spaces, and with providing a full array of services that help make homelessness rare, one time, and non-recurrent.”

Originally launched months into the COVID-19 pandemic as an extension of Project Roomkey – to curb the spread of disease among Californians in congregate shelters – Homekey funds additional building types and supports a broader population of people experiencing or at risk for homelessness. This includes young people transitioning to adulthood from foster care or an unsafe environment.

Homekey Round 3 grant funding – administered by HCD – is available to local public entities including cities, counties, tribes, and housing authorities to develop a broad range of housing types including hotels, motels, hostels, single-family homes, multifamily apartments, adult residential facilities, and modular housing, and to convert commercial properties and other existing buildings to permanent or interim housing.

HCD continues to review Homekey applications, and grants will be announced on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted.

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