The City of Culver City was awarded a $26.6 million Project Homekey grant from the State of California for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and operation of two local motels. Combined, the motel repurpose projects will create 39 interim housing units for people experiencing homelessness and 37 permanent supportive housing units for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Project Homekey is a statewide program, administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), to rapidly expand housing for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness through a variety of housing types, including motel repurposing. To date, Project Homekey has funded 120 projects, created 5,911 units, and housed 8,264 individuals around the state, according to the Homekey program’s website.
The City is on track to complete ownership and begin project construction at these project sites. These projects take an innovative approach to streamlining housing and social services by co-locating both interim housing and longer-term supportive housing next to each other.
“Repurposing these two motels is a critical part of Culver City’s overall plan for addressing homelessness,” said Culver City Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee. “While the root causes of homelessness are tied to systemic inequities, housing is a fundamental and core solution that can meaningfully address homelessness by providing a safe place indoors where people can find wrap around services, healing, and stabilization. While housing 76 of our neighbors through Project Homekey does not end the problem, it marks our notable progress.”
The 2020 Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Point-In-Time Count showed a 12.7% increase in homelessness in the Los Angeles County region. In 2021, Culver City’s own internal Homeless Count reflected an increase of 35% in homelessness since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic further compounded the homelessness crisis, pushing individuals and families into housing insecurity and increasing the number of unsheltered individuals throughout California. New state and county homeless count numbers are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
An additional 76 housing units will meaningfully address homelessness by providing services and housing to the most vulnerable Culver City community members.
Interim housing will provide 39 rooms for unhoused households to stay for up to 90 days, with extensions granted based on resident need. In addition to meals, linen and laundry services, and security, residents will have access to social services, including an on-site case manager, 24/7 health monitoring, and mental health clinicians.
Longer-term supportive housing will provide 37 rooms for households experiencing chronic homelessness for a length of time determined by resident need and choice. The goal of supportive housing is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where formerly unhoused individuals can transition into independent community living. In assisting residents in their transition from homelessness to permanent housing, the supportive services provider at the facilities will employ a “whatever it takes” approach, defined as “collaborative, person-centered, trauma-informed, housing first, no-wrong-door, and low barrier.”
Both of the motel repurpose properties are accessible to transportation options, employment opportunities, and services. The sites are near emergency medical facilities, LA County Department of Mental Health offices and outpatient services, pharmacies, restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and libraries. The Westside Family Health Center (WFHC) is located across the street from the sites and offers a wide range of health and wellbeing services to vulnerable populations in the community.
Exodus Recovery will serve as the lead operator and supportive service provider for the two new housing facilities. Exodus Recovery has over 35 years of experience developing, implementing, and operating innovative behavioral, health, and substance use disorder services and programs in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Fresno, Solano, and Napa counties. Exodus will provide alternative crisis response services, outreach and engagement, clinical mental health case management, substance abuse and sobering services, tenancy support, housing navigation, bridge housing administration, and property management for the sites.
Participation in Project Homekey is an integral part of Culver City’s efforts to address homelessness, and the two new housing facilities are scheduled to be completed and open by the end of 2022.
Witnessing the growth of homelessness in Culver City and in the region, the City of Culver City continues to implement goals outlined in the 2018 Council-adopted Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness (Plan). Under the Plan, the first goal is to increase bridge housing options, such as interim and supportive housing, and increase the numbers of people served. More specifically, the action plan calls for the creation of an emergency shelter through the conversion of local motels.