Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn approved plans to purchase four motels in her district and convert them to supportive housing units for formerly homeless residents. The projects are part of the state’s Project Homekey effort to protect the state’s homeless residents who are at high risk for serious illness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are in the middle of dual crises– an ongoing homeless crisis and a pandemic that threatens the lives of people living on our streets,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “We need to act with the urgency that both crises demand. With the State’s funding and support, we are transforming motels across my district into affordable apartments with wraparound services. This model is quicker and less expensive than building new housing from scratch.”
Of the eight Project Homekey projects approved in LA County so far, four are in Supervisor Hahn’s Fourth District. Hahn has long advocated for hotel/motel conversions as a way to quickly and efficiently create much-needed supportive housing to address the ongoing homelessness crisis.
The projects approved today include ones in Long Beach, Norwalk, Hacienda Heights, and unincorporated Whittier with a total of 354 units.
“Transitional housing is critical for vulnerable populations. That is why I was proud to have authored Senate Bill 450 last year with the support of Supervisor Hahn, which allowed cities to purchase motels and convert them into housing. In this time of unprecedented housing need, Governor Newsom expanded our bill through Project Homekey, and put more funding into it, which will help counties like Los Angeles tackle homelessness head on,” said Senator Tom Umberg (D – Santa Ana). “The state must be proactive in its continued partnership with local community goals for housing, and support life-changing efforts for those in need.”
“I’m pleased to be partnering with Supervisor Hahn on this important issue,’ said State Senator Bob Archuleta. “I know my cities are willing to step up and do their part to help the homeless situation that affects so many, including veterans. I appreciate the efforts and commitment by the County Board of Supervisors that their support will be given to ensure the services provided as promised at the Homekey sites, including 24/7 Security, medical, mental health services, case management, and housing navigation, will work correctly to benefit the communities and the homeless.”
Permanent supportive housing is a proven solution to homelessness for the most vulnerable homeless individuals. Overwhelmingly, permanent supportive housing has been shown to be the most cost-effective way to serve vulnerable people experiencing homelessness and help them to retain housing. The County will renovate acquired motels so they can be used for permanent housing. Renovations will include various improvements, including the addition of kitchens and other amenities. At each site residents will be able to access on-site supportive services to address physical health, mental health, and other needs.
Each motel will initially be used as interim housing for individuals at high risk during the pandemic before the work is done to transform it into permanent supportive housing units. Shelter operations will be overseen by either the LA County Department of Health Services’ (DHS’) Housing for Health Program or the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). DHS and LAHSA will contract with homeless service providers experienced in operating interim housing facilities. All sites will provide meals on-site and 24/7 security. Participants will agree to a code of conduct that will be enforced by site staff. Homeless service providers will offer case management services to help connect interim housing participants with permanent housing and other supportive services.
Funding for the purchase and operation of these motels comes from the State’s CARES Act dollars. Funding from the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund will be used to renovate each motel in order for it to be converted to permanent supportive housing.
Homekey Long Beach
The Motel 6 Long Beach site located at 5665 East 7th Street will be purchased for $5,615,000. It includes 43 rooms. This site will initially serve as an Interim Shelter site before being converted to permanent supportive housing. This site will be run by the Department of Health Services’ Housing for Health program and will have 24/7 security, housing navigation, medical and specialized mental health services on site. The County of Los Angeles will continue to provide supportive health and mental health services to the residents of this site after it is renovated into permanent supportive housing units.