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California cities receive multimilion dollar Homekey award to help combat homelessness

Gavin Newsom helps volunteers make a bed.
Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 14:40:28-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — As California continues to struggle with homelessness and other housing issues, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Homekey award totaling $694 million for housing and services in Los Angeles, according to a press release from the governor's office. This award brings the total Homekey funding this year to $3.75 billion.

The Homekey project, launched in 2020, has already funded more than 200 projects statewide, providing housing and services for more than 12,500 Californians.

“With 12,500 new homes funded in just two years, Homekey is changing lives across the state,” said Newsom. “Homekey’s groundbreaking success is a model for the nation, showing that we can make real progress on ending homelessness in months, not years. In partnership with cities and counties like Los Angeles, we’ll continue to safely house Californians in need faster and more cost-effectively than ever.”

Newsom helps assemble welcome home packages for people who will exit homelessness thanks to California's Homekey program.
Newsom helps assemble welcome home packages for people who will exit homelessness thanks to California's Homekey program. The program, which has already helped 12,500 Californians obtain housing, is celebrating its second anniversary.

Newsom, who celebrated the two-year anniversary of the Homekey program by helping to assemble welcome kits as part of the site's move-in preparations, was joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez and Department of Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez in announcing the new award.

“Homekey is more than just another tool in our toolbox in the work to end homelessness – it’s an opportunity for thousands to start anew, and an injection of pride and dignity that can keep Angelenos off the street for good,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Thanks to this latest infusion of funds, hundreds of people experiencing homelessness today will be offered the stability of a permanent home, the safety of a door with a lock, and the services they need to get back on their feet.”

According to the press release, Homekey has become a model program for other states to learn how to quickly deploy emergency funds to organizations in their communities that help to expand housing and other services for unhoused residents.

“Homekey has been one of our most effective and catalytic affordable housing supply solutions. Thanks to Governor Newsom’s vision, in 24 months, we designed a hotels-to-housing national model, mobilized technical assistance and marshaled historic housing resources," said BCSH Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. "This is an incredible example of good government responding with compassion, speed and transformative solutions.”

A note from Governor Newsom welcoming another Californian home. The note reads, in part, "Congratulations on the next phase of your life. The best is yet to come!"
A note from Governor Newsom welcoming another Californian home.

In addition to the Homekey award, Newsom announced $47 million in Community Care Expansion housing grants specifically to create more residential care options for senior citizens and people with disabilities, including those who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This CCE grant is the first of its kind, to be administered by the California Department of Social Services for addressing the gaps in the state's behavioral health and long-term care services.

Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez spoke about the need to progress from emergency programs like Homekey to permanent programs designed to create more affordable housing across the board.

"HCD continues implementing systemic changes to address both the urgent need to shelter people and to progress toward our Statewide Housing Plan goal for more affordable housing for lower-income and unhoused residents who are disproportionately people of color,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez.

This Homekey award is shared across 19 California cities, including Fresno, which received four awards totaling $57.9 million dollars. The money is meant to create 283 new housing units in that city. Other cities receiving Homekey funds are San Luis Obispo, San Jose, and Stockton.