FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2022
Contact: Edie Irons, [email protected], 510-334-1344
(Oakland, CA) — A new report from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation shows the impact and potential of California’s Homekey Program, which funds the conversion of hotels and other properties for use as interim or permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. Homekey used unprecedented levels of state funding to create more than 8,000 homes at more than 100 projects for the Californians who need them most.
The report, California’s Homekey Program: Unlocking Housing Opportunities for People Experiencing Homelessness, makes clear what it will take for Homekey to become the long-term solution the State needs it to be: “The single biggest obstacle to the long-term success of Homekey is the lack of operating funds to support property management, maintenance, security, and resident services.”
As Bay Area residents continue to grapple with housing insecurity made worse by the impacts of COVID-19, healing and housing our communities will take further state and federal investment at a scale and ambition comparable to Homekey. Mayors and advocates are speaking out about the need to strengthen Homekey so that it can best serve our neighbors who want a roof over their heads and give our communities the support they need to end homelessness.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf:
“The report affirms that while Homekey was a critical lifeline to move people off the streets and into safety and services quickly, we now face a fiscal cliff if we do not create ongoing resources to support these operations. One-time emergency funds to address our homelessness crisis are not enough and not long-term solutions. Cities desperately need a direct, ongoing, flexible revenue stream to address the frontlines of this moral crisis.”
San José Mayor Sam Liccardo:
“When San José piloted a program in 2015 to acquire hotels for our unhoused residents, we didn’t anticipate it becoming a model for the State’s vital pandemic-era Homekey program. With $12.2 million in Homekey funding, San José secured a 76-room Best Western motel. While we’ve made progress building multiple interim housing sites, the long-term promise of Homekey requires a greater, multiyear investment by the State in ongoing site operations and resident support services.”
Tomiquia Moss, CEO/Founder of All Home:
“Homekey has proven that when we act with urgency we can reduce the suffering on our streets, but it will not be a lasting solution to homelessness without additional, ongoing investments in operations and services. Homekey’s capital investments are a strong start, but to make an investment commensurate to the need, it will take more than one-time funds. We must have a commitment to operations and resident services that is tied to outcomes and supported by greater interagency coordination. We need to streamline the process, commit resources for the long-term and deliver on the promise to provide housing to all our unhoused neighbors.”
Amie Fishman, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern CA:
“HomeKey has been an incredible example of how policymakers can make progress and launch big, bold solutions in times of need for our communities; now, we need lawmakers to carry that commitment forward by leveraging the opportunity presented by the budget surplus and make critical, long-term investments to support operations and services. It is simply untenable for non-profit affordable housing developers to assume the risk of 55-year loan terms, without the state doing its part to ensure successful operations.”
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See the CA Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey Awards Dashboard for up-to-date information on Homekey’s reach and impact.
All Home is a Bay Area organization that advances regional solutions that will disrupt the cycle of poverty and homelessness, redress the disparities in outcomes as a result of race, and create more opportunity for economic mobility for individuals and families with extremely low-incomes in the Bay Area.
The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) activates our members to make the Bay Area a place where everyone has an affordable and stable home. Our members represent thousands of individuals and organizations, including affordable housing developers, advocates, community leaders and businesses. We work to secure resources, promote good policy, educate the public, and support affordable homes as the foundation for thriving individuals, families, and neighborhoods.