With Help from SHRA and Project Homekey, Downtown Sacramento Motel Transforms into Permanent Homeless Housing

Date Published: 
January 8th, 2024

From CapRadio:

A former Best Western motel has reopened in downtown Sacramento after being converted into permanent homeless housing, offering nearly 100 residents the chance at a fresh start. 

Sacramento Central Studios at H and 12th streets is the city’s third motel-conversion project funded by the state’s Homekey initiative and the first downtown. The others are in South Sacramento and Natomas, while Sacramento County recently approved two similar projects. 

Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration launched the multi-billion program during the pandemic with the goal of creating thousands of stable housing units for homeless residents.

Formerly unhoused resident Mike Pollard said he moved into the new community when it opened in November after spending much of the pandemic living in his pickup. 

He said he’d been evicted from his childhood home in Rancho Cordova and had nowhere to go. 

The 66-year-old said the transition hasn’t always been easy. There are rules to follow: Residents can’t hang anything on the walls that would leave a mark. And all guests must check in at the front desk.

Still, he said, having one’s own place has its perks.

“My bed’s like an acre and a half. My shower’s the best shower I’ve ever had in my life,” Pollard said during an interview at the housing complex. “It’s just such a difference from living down at the park.” 

The housing community took two years to complete and like other affordable housing projects, it wasn’t cheap, something critics have increasingly called out. 

Altogether, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency spent $7.4 million while Homekey provided $23.9 million for a total of $31.3 million, according to a city news release. 

Most of the renovation consisted of adding kitchenettes to each of the 92 units, the vast majority of which are occupied by a single resident. 

Homekey pays local governments to purchase and transform hotels and motels into long-term housing. Cities and counties, meanwhile, pay for services from meals to laundry to mental health care for residents. 

Read CapRadio's article "Downtown Sacramento motel transforms into permanent homeless housing, after two years and $31 million."

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