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Gov. Newsom wraps up 2022's Homekey funding

Project Roomkey & Homekey awarded almost $3 billion to local governments after COVID exacerbated California's homelessness crisis.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The last $36 million in pandemic-era California emergency housing funds for 2022 were sent out by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday.

The housing crisis was expected to worsen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing state officials to establish Project Homekey after a similar program, Project Roomkey that used federal funds.

As the housing crisis and pandemic dragged on, many officials shifted priority from emergency housing to more permanent and supportive housing models.

Of the four local governments set to receive a collective $36 million for Project Homekey, two plan to develop permanent housing units.

"In all, more than 200 Homekey projects have been funded since 2020, which will provide more than 12,500 interim and permanent affordable homes and improve the lives of individuals, families and neighborhoods across California,” Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez said in a statement.

Project Homekey provided local governments about $2.8 billion total to sustain 12,676 housing units across the state.

Local jurisdictions receiving funds include:

  1. San Luis Obispo Housing Authority: $11.6 million for the purchase and conversion of a 68-room hotel into 40 units of affordable housing with two additional manager housing units.
  2. San Jose: $19.9 million to purchase a 72-room hotel to be used for temporary housing. After two years, the property will be redeveloped into 72 units of permanent supportive housing.
  3. San Benito County: $2.4 million to purchase 11 factory-built homes; two are two-bedroom homes, and nine are four-bedroom homes. They will be used to serve chronically unhoused families.
  4. Santa Cruz County: $2.2 million to purchase seven housing units in a former medical office. Two units are studio size, and five units are one-bedroom homes.

Another round of Project Homekey funds, about $1.3 billion, will be dispersed beginning in 2023, according to the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

(Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify aspects of the Homekey program including that the funding for the year is ending not the program overall.)

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