State awards $60 million for housing projects addressing homelessness

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gavin Newsom has made available more than $60 million in funds for projects that will create 267 interim housing units for homeless individuals in Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Kern Counties.

The projects are part of the state’s Homekey program, a statewide effort to expand housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. Since December, the state has allocated $300 million for a dozen Homekey projects, which created more than 1,000 new housing units, according to the governor’s office.

Under the latest grant allocation, Santa Barbara County will receive $7 million to acquire 22 interim housing units for people experiencing homelessness. The project also includes access to supportive services, including case management, mental health services and substance abuse treatment, according to the governor’s office.

In addition, Santa Clara County will receive $22.1 million to convert a motel into 60 units for people experiencing chronic homelessness, and the Housing Authority of Kern County will receive $30 million to provide 125 housing units for homeless individuals and youth.

“These three awardees really showcase the essence of Homekey,” Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a statement. “Whether it’s a project that serves homeless youth, to a site near a major university, to a motel conversion with a whole suite of supportive services to get people back on their feet. We’re creating more than 200 units of housing to give folks a fresh start.”

Under the governor’s Homekey program and Project Roomkey program, which provided non-congregate shelter options for homeless individuals during the pandemic, the state has provided temporary housing for more than 50,000 individuals and secured more permanent housing for another 8,000.

In September, Newsom announced an expansion of the Homekey program, which made $2.75 billion in grant funding available for housing projects. Since that time, the state has already approved several projects that will create an additional 1,000 housing units when completed, according to the governor’s office.

“As we embark upon a new year, we must reaffirm our commitment to providing a helping hand to the most vulnerable Californians among us,” Newsom said in a statement. “The Homekey projects funded today will provide hope and comfort to many in need in these three communities.”

Earlier this week, the governor proposed $2 billion in new funding for homelessness within his budget proposal, which would focus on quickly sheltering individuals with behavioral health issues. This would come on top of a $12 billion investment in last year’s budget to combat homelessness.

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