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August 26, 2020

San Diego Secures $28M in State “Project Homekey” Funds to Create New Homeless Housing

City, Housing Commission to transform hotel into permanent housing units accompanied by County-funded services

SAN DIEGO, CA — With the goal of creating additional housing units for San Diegans experiencing homelessness, the City of San Diego and San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) were notified Tuesday that the State of California has reserved $27.7 million in Project Homekey Program funds for purchasing a hotel to transform it into permanent housing units with supportive services in San Diego.

“Housing as many people as possible was always the goal of Operation Shelter to Home at the Convention Center, and with this grant, San Diego can keep hundreds more people off the streets for good by moving them into a permanent home,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said.

“These state funds will support a unique, game-changing opportunity to quickly create the housing we need for San Diegans experiencing homelessness by acquiring a hotel in good condition and combining housing with essential supportive service to help residents remain stably housed in an apartment they can afford,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said.

Late Tuesday, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s request to authorize $5.4 million to fund essential supportive services for the individuals who would reside at the property after SDHC acquires it, as well as other potential projects.

Residents of the property would include individuals currently staying at Operation Shelter to Home at the San Diego Convention Center, which opened on April 1, 2020, as a temporary shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic that serves approximately 1,200 per day. Operation Shelter to Home is a collaborative effort between the City, SDHC, County, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), San Diego Convention Center and homeless service providers.

One of the main objectives of Operation Shelter to Home is to streamline how persons experiencing homelessness access housing resources and move them quickly into permanent housing. So far, Housing Navigation Teams, led by SDHC and RTFH, have helped more than 400 people secure housing and have another 550 in the process.

This new property would support the goal to bring 300 to 400 new permanent housing units online.

The acceptance of the grant funds and the proposed acquisition of the hotel will be presented in the coming months to the SDHC Board of Commissioners and the San Diego City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego.

Through the Homekey Program, the state is making $600 million in grant funding available to local public entities in California, including cities, counties or housing authorities. These grant funds may be used to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings, and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing.

On August 4, 2020, the SDHC Board of Commissioners authorized staff to submit applications to the State Department of Housing and Community Development Homekey Program for grant funds for two or more properties.

SDHC’s proposed purchase of the property would advance the goals of the City of San Diego Community Action Plan on Homelessness, which the City Council adopted in October 2019. The plan identifies near-term and 10-year goals, including the critical need to increase permanent supportive housing by 2,659 units for individuals experiencing homelessness within a 10-year period, with 60 percent of units (1,595) to be developed within the first four years.


Scott Marshall, Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission



Ashley Bailey, Senior Press Secretary & Director of Digital Media

Office of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer


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