LA County buys 20-room beachfront motel for homeless

Pacific Coast Inn in Redondo Beach to be converted under Project Homekey, over neighbors’ objections

Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand with 716 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand with 716 S. Pacific Coast Highway ( Brittany Murray, Livable California, iStock)

Los Angeles County and a nonprofit housing agency have paid $6.3 million for a 20-room motel in Redondo Beach to turn into homeless housing for the state’s Project Homekey program.

The county teamed up with Culver City-based Century Housing to buy the Pacific Coast Inn at 716 S. Pacific Coast Highway in South Redondo Beach, the Torrance Daily Breeze reported.

The county, which financed the purchase with state Homekey funds, intends to convert the 62-year-old motel into transitional housing for homeless residents. Plans call for adding kitchenettes to each apartment and creating a community space in the center of the complex.

The newly named Moonstone would be the first motel conversion in the South Bay for the state Department of Housing and Community Development program.

Neighbors who objected to the project say it’s in the heart of the community, surrounded by multimillion-dollar condos, three blocks from an elementary school, and not far from an afterschool yogurt shop hangout for kids.

“You don’t know what element they’re going to bring,” said Mindy Czuleger, granddaughter of a popular former Redondo Beach mayor. “Rules don’t matter.

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“All of us are up in arms because we just didn’t know about it.”

The developer and government officials have defended the project, saying it will help get people off the streets and into permanent housing. Residents will be offered supportive services, and be expected to pay rent and respect neighbors, officials say.

“This is not a shelter, not a drop in, not a halfway house,” said Brian D’Andrea, senior vice president for developer Century Housing Corporation.

Since last year, Homekey has made $1.4 billion in grants available for cities and counties to work with private developers to turn under-used properties into housing for homeless residents. There are 18 Homekey sites led by L.A. County, and 16 more sites led by the City of Los Angeles and its housing authority.

The Redondo Beach City Council unanimously approved a statement of interest in the Pacific Coast Inn project in November. Because of its emergency status and ties to federal coronavirus recovery funds, such projects are exempt from environmental review.

[Torrance Daily Breeze] – Dana Bartholomew

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