California gives Oakland another $17.5M to house homeless veterans, those released from custody

The state of California awarded Oakland another $17.5 million for two housing projects that will house about 100 people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, including veterans and those recently released from incarceration. 

"We're focused on finding permanent housing," Schaaf told KTVU on Friday, noting how excited she was that the state just gave a total of $40 million to Oakland in the last two months under Gov. Gavin Newsom's Project Homekey effort. "It's allowing us to rapidly convert existing buildings to provide permanent, affordable housing. 

The projects are:

The Inn at Temescal is a 22-unit hotel located at the corner of MacArthur Blvd. and Telegraph Avenue.  The community-based organization Operation Dignity and developer Danco Communities are buying the project.  Operation Dignity will lease the units to homeless people, working with them to secure housing and jobs with the Oakland Housing Authority and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The team hopes to acquire the site by the middle of December. The Inn at Temescal will provide 21 units for residents, and one unit for a service manager.

392 11th St. is an 82-unit Single Room Occupancy hotel, aka the Travelers Hotel, which will provide housing for people recently released from nearby jails and prisons who are most impacted by COVID-19 and are at extraordinary risk of homelessness. BOSS, or the Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, will act as the service provider and work in collaboration with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to house those rapidly released due to overcrowding and the escalating spread of coronavirus. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The city originally said this address was on Franklin Street.) 

This $17.5 million award comes after Oakland already received $20 million in September: $10 million buy Clifton Hall, a California College of the Arts dormitory in Rockridge that offers 63 units for seniors and families; and $10 million for Project Reclamation managed by Bay Area Community Services, or BACS, for the development of 100 units at 20 various sites throughout Oakland for families and individuals.

Both projects are expected to be finished and ready for residents in early 2021.

The money is part of a larger statewide effort that was born during the coronavirus crisis to address the dire need to provide safe shelter to those living on the streets and prevent the spread of the disease.

On Monday, Newsom announced he had distributed the seventh and final round of Homekey funding that included $129.6 million to nine applicants for 17 projects totaling 982 units. 

Cities in San Mateo, Marin, Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties were also awarded money in this last round. In the past, Homekey awards have also gone to San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Mountain View, San Jose and Contra Costa County.

To date, the governor's office said that more than $835.6 million has been awarded to 48 jurisdictions for 93 projects totaling 6,055 units. 

Newsom originally launched the program with $600 million, but that amount was quickly used up as applications poured in. Last Friday, Newsom announced another $200 million.

The average per-unit cost to Homekey is $138,512, Newsom noted, well below the average cost in California to build new housing units.