San Jose considers more hotels to expand housing options for the homeless

San Jose officials are quietly inquiring about hotels that may meet acquisition criteria through Project Homekey funds in 2022.

Mayor Sam Liccardo recently contacted the owner of two hotels, the Quality Inn on 13th Street and the Tully Inn on Tully Road, to see if they might be suitable for the Project Homekey program. San Jose has previously requested funding through this state program, which makes $ 2.75 billion available for temporary and permanent housing projects.

Dhaval Panchal, whose family owns the hotels, told the San José Spotlight that he spoke about two weeks ago with city officials about his properties in Districts 3 and 7. He said said they were interested in the properties, but said nothing about their purchase.

“I think it’s exploratory, definitely,” Panchal said. “All I can say is everything is up in the air right now.”

There has been no formal conversation about buying the properties, Liccardo spokesperson Rachel Davis told the San José Spotlight. The city is looking for potential sites to include in the third round of funding for the Homekey Project, which Davis says is slated for the second half of 2022.

“We continue to seek all opportunities to purchase hotels to provide housing for our residents living on the streets,” said Davis. “We have contacted (Mr. Panchal) and we will reach out to others as we work to achieve our housing goals. “

Liccardo’s office contacted the owner of the hotels through Erik Schoennauer, a land use planning consultant. Schoennauer disclosed the call in a lobbying report to the city and confirmed to the San José Spotlight that he connected the mayor’s office with his client, the owner of the Panchal Hotel.

Applications for the second round of the Homekey Project funds opened on September 30, with around $ 200 million available for cities in the Bay Area. San Jose requested funds in early October to convert four hotels – Pavilion Inn, Residence Inn, Pacific Motor Inn and Arena Hotel – into emergency housing.

The city is also keen to set up a temporary housing site at the corner of Branham Lane and Monterey Road to replace a homeless settlement that grew during the pandemic. This project is partially funded by a $ 5 million donation from real estate developer John Sobrato. Residents living near the proposed site have assembled a petition with over 1,000 signatures opposing the plans.

The sites would add 548 units in total. Five existing temporary housing sites can currently accommodate around 300 people. Last year, San Jose received $ 12 million in Homekey funding to convert a 76-unit hotel, SureStay, into permanent affordable housing. The state accused San José of charging rents in excess of the amount allowed for sites using Homekey project funds, forcing the city to recalculate the rent.

The Homekey Project funds are a critical part of San Jose’s strategy to house the thousands of homeless residents scattered across the city in settlements. In September, Liccardo and several board members proposed to create 2,300 new permanent and transitional housing units by the end of next year.

San Jose Housing Department spokesman Jeff Scott told the San José Spotlight that the city has appraised many properties to be acquired with funds from the Homekey project.

“We keep looking for opportunities to expand access to affordable housing,” Scott said.

Contact Eli Wolfe at [email protected] Where @ EliWolfe4 on Twitter.

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