After 12-months of renovation work, the City of Culver City celebrated the opening of its new Project Homekey supportive housing project on Sepulveda Boulevard on Friday, September 29, 2023. This initiative marks a significant stride in the ongoing mission to combat homelessness, one person at a time.
Mayor Albert Vera expressed the profound significance of this achievement. “To our unhoused population, this is our way of building trust again, reconnecting with our unhoused individuals who, for various reasons, felt let down by the system,” he said. “Bringing them here, demonstrating our love and compassion, and providing the services they need is unquestionably a step in the right direction.”
Two repurposed and adjacent motels have been transformed into havens, offering a total of 73 new units of interim and permanent supportive housing. Each room is thoughtfully adorned to provide a welcoming atmosphere, with a strong focus on accessibility and comfort. The first residents are expected to move in during October.
Project Homekey’s innovative approach integrates housing and social services. Exodus Recovery will oversee operations at the locations, ensuring essential services such as meals, laundry, and on-site security. Residents will also have access to vital social services, including an on-site case manager and 24/7 health monitoring, along with mental health clinicians.
Arames White-Shearin, Assistant to the City Manager on Homelessness, emphasized the importance of case management, saying, “[Case management is] really important for this vulnerable population. This allows them to reinvent themselves, find safety, and grow into the person they’re meant to become.”
The successful execution of Project Homekey was made possible through the support of local and state lawmakers. The State of California provided a substantial $26.6 million grant. California Assemblymember Isaac G. Bryan, representing the 55th District, hailed the collaborative effort. “This is government at its best. When all levels of government work together in solidarity, we can bring millions of dollars back to Culver City to house our fellow citizens and continue pushing this effort forward.”
Bryan also praised Culver City’s innovative spirit. “That’s solving this problem. That’s leading. That’s when a city of 40,000 serves as a model for the entire county. I love the innovation that is happening in Culver City.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell underlined the importance of this multi-level government partnership, emphasizing, “Our focus is to house our family, friends, and neighbors who have been unhoused for far too long, and this partnership reflects that commitment.”
“What is critical in supporting our family friends and neighbors who’ve experienced homelessness are the services to support them and to keep them housed.”
Project Homekey adds to the array of services Culver City provides for its residents in need, including a Safe Sleep program (also known as safe camping), outreach services, Motel Master Leading initiatives which provide rooms in local motels for unhoused individuals, and the City’s Mobile Crisis Team, which sends unarmed staff to respond for people in mental health crisis. Culver City remains steadfast in its commitment to uplifting its unhoused neighbors.
Mayor Albert Vera acknowledged that this is just the beginning of a long process and urged patience from the community. He expressed confidence in the management of Exodus and the City’s operational oversight, assuring that this endeavor will yield positive results.
Christina Stoffers, a Management Analyst with the City of Culver City, who grew up locally, shared her excitement, “It’s incredibly moving. Culver City is very dear to my heart, and I’ve seen the city evolve and change. It’s incredible that the city is prioritizing a project like this to address its most vulnerable population. I’m ecstatic for whoever gets placed in any of the units and look forward to seeing how this evolves. I hope to see more initiatives like this because it’s one of the best approaches to solving homelessness.”
Project Homekey’s opening represents a beacon of hope for the unhoused population in Culver City, showcasing the power of collaboration, compassion, and innovation in addressing one of society’s most pressing challenges.
About Culver City
Culver City is a five-square-mile, urban community of 40,779 residents surrounded mostly by the City of Los Angeles but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. It is centrally located on the Westside near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles International Airport. Culver City is particularly known for its well-run public school system, “small town” charm, growing high-tech and creative economies, and a dynamic downtown that is regionally known as a destination for restaurants, live theater, and art galleries.