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Hotels, Motels in Mariposa and Tulare Counties Being Turned Into Homeless Housing
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By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 4 years ago on
September 29, 2020

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Governor Gavin Newsom announced another round of ‘Project Homekey‘ funds Monday afternoon. Mariposa and Tulare Counties were among the counties awarded.

The governor also announced he has asked the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to approve his request for an additional $200 million in coronavirus relief funding for Project Homekey.

Building on the Project Roomkey concept, Homekey is being touted as the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19.

The Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers Homekey, today awarded more than $137 million for 19 projects in 15 California communities, totaling 938 units. These awards bring the total awarded under Homekey to $449.9 million.

Under the program, local entities partner with the state to acquire and rehabilitate a variety of housing types, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and residential care facilities in order to serve people experiencing homelessness or who are also at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Homekey funds must be used to provide housing for homeless individuals and those most susceptible to COVID-19.

Mariposa County

Mariposa County will purchase a 27-room hotel that the county has already been operating, ensuring the county can continue to provide shelter and patient care at the site for years to come. The county will receive $4,148,000.

The project will focus on serving seniors and people under 65 who have a disability. Although, combined, these two groups make up 42.1 percent of the county’s population, they represent 54 percent of the county’s existing COVID sheltered homeless population, data shows.

Tulare County

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency will leverage $5,200,000 in Homekey funds to acquire a 45-room motel in Visalia. The project is expected to quickly begin operating the majority of the units as short term shelter rooms, while the remaining units are rehabilitated into permanent supportive housing.

At full capacity, the project will provide permanent housing for 45 individuals experiencing homelessness. Residents will also receive supportive services.

Fresno County: Former Smuggler’s Inn Application

Fresno County, RH Community Builders, and UPholdings want to acquire and rehabilitate the Hotel Fresno (formerly the Smuggler’s Inn) on Blackstone and Dakota avenues to provide assistance to homeless people through Homekey. That’s the short-term goal. The long-term goal is to provide affordable housing for decades into the future.

The project was not listed in Monday’s approvals. State officials say additional awards are expected weekly until all $600 million has been awarded.

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