LA County receives more than $18 million to convert hotels and motels into units for homeless people

Los Angeles County has received more than $18 million from the state to buy a hotel and two motels and turn them into temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The county received $5.5 million to purchase a 20-unit hotel, which is to be rehabilitated, and turn it into interim housing with support services for homeless families.

The county also received $12.9 million for the Sierra Highway Hotel project, which will convert two adjacent motels in Lancaster into interim housing, providing 39 units and support services for homeless people. The governor’s office said the motels needed rehabilitation but could accommodate the residence within eight months of receiving funding.

The grants are part of Project Homekey, a state program to create permanent housing in apartment buildings and hotels for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. So far, the state has approved a total of 55 projects creating 3,195 homes for homeless people.

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Newsom also announced grants on Wednesday to the cities of Berkeley and Arcata, as well as the Santa Barbara County Housing Authority and the Yurok Indian Housing Authority. The grants are expected to create a total of 232 homes.

“Homekey is proof that we can solve homelessness,” Newsom said. “We have rapidly created safer places to live for thousands of homeless people over the past two years and today’s prices continue that progress – creating 232 housing units for homeless people across the state and providing them with the support services they need.”

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The governor’s office said officials would announce more Homekey Project grants in the coming weeks. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. The state expanded the program with an investment of $2.75 billion last year, with the goal of creating 14,000 long-term homes. The state launched the program with an investment of $846 million.

“It’s encouraging to see so many great Homekey projects coming from our local partners,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez. “Our staff continues to work diligently to review numerous claims and provide assistance to jurisdictions so that we can help those in need in every corner of the state. This is the coordination we need to get out of this homelessness crisis.”

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