L.A. County Paying Far Too Much for Project Homekey Rooms

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Gov. Gavin Newsom awarded $18M to Los Angeles County to turn a hotel and two motels into interim housing as part of California’s ambitious, but flawed Project Homekey to house homeless Californians

AHF says L.A. County is paying far too much per housing unit–$275K each for 20 rooms at one hotel and $330K each per room for 39 rooms in 2 motels in Lancaster. By comparison, AHF paid an average of $102,000 per room for over 1,350 rooms in 12 SRO hotels and motels for its Healthy Housing Foundation housing program

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–KABC-TV7 reported earlier today that Governor Gavin Newsom awarded $18 million in state funding to Los Angeles County for Project Homekey. The station noted, “The county received $5.5 million to purchase a 20-unit hotel, which needs to be rehabilitated, and turn it into interim housing with supportive services for homeless families.”

KABC-TV added: “The county also received $12.9 million for the Sierra Highway Hotel project, which will convert two adjacent motels in Lancaster into interim housing, providing 39 units and supportive services for people who are homeless. The governor’s office said the motels need rehabilitation, but could welcome residence within eight months of the funding being received.”

After crunching the above county numbers, AHF and its Housing Is A Human Right housing advocacy division say that while well intentioned, Los Angeles County is paying far too much for each Project Homekey room or housing unit: roughly $275,000 a piece for each of the 20 rooms at one hotel, and $330,000 each per room for the 39 rooms in the two motels in Lancaster, where need for such facilities is strong.

“These are absurdly high amounts of money to be spent on these housing units by the county,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF president. “Since 2017, AHF has paid an average of $102,000 per room for the over 1,350 rooms in 12 SRO hotels and/or motels that are currently part of our family of housing in AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation. With over 60,000 homeless in L.A. County, the county and state simply must do better with these resources.”

AHF and Housing Is A Human Right want to remind politicians and homeless housing providers that they can’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on one unit of homeless housing because the money will quickly run out. As a result, all the housing that’s desperately needed won’t be built. That means too many people will remain homeless and the unhoused will ultimately suffer as a result.

Contacts

Ged Kenslea, AHF communications dir., gedk@aidshealth.org  (323) 791-5526 cell