CHULA VISTA, Calif. – A hotel for the homeless is soon coming to the South Bay after City Council voted unanimously to take one step closer in buying the property.
Millions of dollars from the State of California Homekey Program will help fund the project, and in total, the 31-unit property will become permanent supportive housing for homeless residents.
This follows the opening of the city’s temporary emergency shelter that opened this May with hopes of taking the initiative a step further, providing the 318 people experiencing homelessness per the latest point-in-time count, a long-term housing solution.
The city is now setting its sights on the now vacant Palomar Motel with hopes of converting the rustic 31-room site to 30 long-term housing units including a bathroom and kitchenette. However, it’s not just a roof over their heads, the city also hopes to provide both mental and physical health resources.
“You know…a variety of tools need to be used to secure people with the things they need to use to be successful in housing themselves…and so this is another tool in the kit,” explained Stacy Kurtz, who is the City of Chula Vista’s Director of Housing and Homeless Services.
The overall cost would average at around $13 million with the goal of borrowing from federal stimulus and state funding, not the city.
“This is one part of a long-term goal to be able to attack the homeless issue,” Mayor John McCann shared.
While unanimous support from council, not all who live in the area are supportive. One being John Reyes who has lived nearby for the past two decades.
“It sounds like we’re using the City of San Diego model where they just send them [the unhoused] over there and shelter them, but there’s no responsibility for the homeless,” Reyes said.
As of right now, there are only 30 beds for homeless in the South Bay out of the nearly 7,000 in the San Diego region. McCann says this plan is a long-term way to fix that, serving people in the area living below 50% of the average median income.
“We’re making sure that we’re doing both sides of giving people who are unsheltered and opportunity to get better, get back on their feet, but also protecting our single-family neighborhoods and our local businesses,” McCann said.
With council approval, the city has the greenlight to apply for state funding with a deadline to apply this coming Friday.
If all goes according to the city’s plans, the renovated motel could be up and running in 2025.
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