California lawmakers approved $4.8 billion over two years to address the state’s homeless crisis, with more than half of that going to a program that converts motels into permanent housing.
The state allocated $2.75 billion in federal funds to the program, Project Homekey, over the next two years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Through Project Homekey, the state buys hotels and motels then converts them into housing for the homeless.
The state created the program last year as a successor to Project Roomkey, a measure in which hotel operators contracted with the local government to provide rooms to homeless people at particular risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Project Homekey operates much the same way, funded mostly with federal dollars and administered through local governments. The city of L.A. and L.A. County each have purchased properties through the program.
All of the state’s recent Project Homekey allocation comes from the federal government’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package that lawmakers passed in March. Although Project Roomkey is winding down, the allocation includes $150 million for that program as well.
State lawmakers have been finalizing a $262.6 billion budget through several bills over the last several weeks.
The massive budget includes $5.2 billion to cover unpaid rent statewide and another $2 billion to cover overdue utility bills. Also, $2.2 billion would be spent over the next two years for local programs addressing homelessness. The city of L.A. will receive $143.6 million — the largest chunk of any single city in California — followed by San Jose’s $29.2 million and San Diego’s $27.3 million.
The budget also includes a $40 million grant program to address family homelessness and $50 million for local governments to address homeless encampments, which in some L.A. neighborhoods has become a major source of conflict.
[LAT] — Dennis Lynch