Project Homekey to pump $226M into Bay Area homeless market

State award will fund 800 units at an average cost of $283K each

Governor Gavin Newsome and Towneplace Suites by Marriott (Getty Images, Marriott)
Governor Gavin Newsome and Towneplace Suites by Marriott (Getty Images, Marriott)

The state of California has awarded $226 million to Bay Area counties and cities to create 800 homes for homeless residents as part of its Project Homekey.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the Homekey grants for nine buildings project or to convert hotels and apartments from Santa Rosa to San Jose, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The Homekey funding comes from $694 million in total awards for 35 projects across the state. The $3.75 billion Homekey program, launched in 2020, has now funded more than 200 projects totaling 12,500 units of temporary and permanent homeless housing. The state has also budgeted $15 billion since then to combat homelessness.

In the Bay Area, at least 62 planned and completed projects have received grants for more than 3,600 new units, according to state data. The new grants will fund nine new projects, at a cost of $282,500 per unit.

In South San Jose, a $51.6 million award will fund a 204-unit project at Branham Lane and Monterey Road to construct interim housing near Edenvale Gardens Regional Park.

Construction should begin in the next few weeks after authorities clear a homeless camp from the site, Councilman Sergio Jimenez said in an email to residents. It’s expected to open by next summer.

In Palo Alto, $26.6 million will fund an 88-unit project at 1237 San Antonio Road on a city-owned parcel near Byxbee Park. The modular housing is expected to be completed next summer.

In Newark, $38.1 million will go toward converting an extended-stay, 124-room Towneplace Suites by Marriott hotel at 39802 Cedar Boulevard into affordable housing for homeless people.

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In Oakland, $5.6 million will help create 24 interim units and 10 interim youth units at an unknown location.

In San Francisco, $73.4 million will go toward converting what the state describes as a 200-room hotel at 333 12th Street for homeless residents. The city describes City Gardens as an affordable apartment complex.

Also, the funds will help convert a 52-room Mission Inn at 5630 Mission Street.

In Santa Rosa, $24.7 million will fund the conversion of a 50-room, former Gold Coin Motel at 2400 Mendocino Avenue, plus a 40-unit project at 465 A Street, now the address of Catholic Charities. Another $6.3 million will go toward converting a 21-room shuttered Angie’s & Geo’s Hideaway at 18100 Highway 116 in Guerneville, in Sonoma County.

With the exception of San Francisco, homelessness in Bay Area counties swelled during the pandemic, according to a Bay Area-wide “point-in-time count” in February.

Santa Clara County counted 10,028 unhoused residents, up 3 percent from the last tally in 2019. Alameda County counted 9,747 people, up 22 percent. Contra Costa County counted 3,093 homeless residents, up 35 percent from 2019.

San Francisco saw a drop of 4 percent to 7,754 homeless residents, which officials attributed to millions invested by the city to house people in hotels, safe parking sites and new supportive housing.

— Dana Bartholomew

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