ROSEVILLE, Calif. — The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Jan. 11 to move forward with a $16.7 million hotel purchase that would use funding from Project Homekey 2.0.
Project Homekey 2.0 is part of a statewide effort to expand housing for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. Grant funding is available for public entities in California to convert commercial properties to permanent or temporary housing for unhoused people.
The 85-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel that the county is looking to purchase is located at 110 North Sunrise Avenue in Roseville.
"We will not purchase the property or close escrow unless funds are received from the state per the Project Homekey 2.0 program," said Eric Findlay, the Placer County Property Manager.
Findlay said a $50,000 refundable deposit would be paid once the purchase and sale agreement is executed.
Findlay said, if funds are received, that kitchenettes would be added to make the rooms into studio apartment-style living, but funds would not necessarily be used to do repair or rebuild since the hotel is in good condition.
Five people spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting during public comment, four of whom said they were opposed to the purchase and sale agreement.
"Doing this is going to be a magnet, so more and more homeless are going to be staying there. What's the process of getting them back to work? Some of them are probably mentally ill, so are they just going to stay there indefinitely? It just seems like you're opening up a can of worms that you're not prepared to handle and that could potentially make the issue worse," Michael said over Zoom during public comment.
Other people raised concerns about paying for upkeep and wanted to know more details about the plan for funds to operate the site.
The people who would live in the hotel would need to be tied to Placer Couty and show proof of that such as through Medical, according to Amy Ellis, the Adult System of Care Division Director for Placer County.
WATCH: 1/11/22 Board of Supervisors
Ellis said there would be 24/7 services provided by AMI Housing (AMIH), which is a nonprofit that provides housing, employment and life skills programs to unhoused residents in Placer and Nevada County, according to it's website.
'We definitely have discussed through a lot of the concerns raised here by the public and I think that, as a resident myself, I hear that and I understand those concerns, but I do think with excellent partnerships between us, the city [of Roseville], law enforcement and other community partners we're going to be able to wrap support around this project to be able to help it be an effective solution for those residents who all live there," Ellis said.
District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore, representing Roseville, said she toured the hotel along with other Roseville officials.
"I just appreciate the fact that we're working together with our cities. I think it's just so critical that we partner together as we try to address these issues," Gore said.
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Ellis said people who would qualify for this type of housing would be approved on a basis of need and that AMIH would also screen the applications and have an interview process to determine the residents of the hotel.
The Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras conducts an annual point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness from Roseville to North Lake Tahoe. In 2020, there was a total of 744 unhoused people in the county.
Ellis said there would be a new count conducted in February.
Placer County purchased the 7 Pines Motel in Kings Beach in November 2020 with Project Roomkey, similar to Project Homekey. Residents living in the motel are required to contribute 30% of their salaries or any sources of income to pay rent, according to District 5 supervisor Cindy Gustafson.
Ellis said at the hotel in Roseville, residents would likely contribute more than 30% of their incomes and vouchers would make up the difference for the market-rate value of rent to go towards operational costs.
If funds are awarded from Project Homekey 2.0, the next step would be for Health and Human Services to return to the board for a budget amendment including a plan to accept the funds, spend the funds and have more information on a deed restriction.
District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore said in the future, the Placer County Homelessness Task Force, which has been meeting for 6 months, will be hosting town halls in the community in the next couple of months to get input on possible future strategies to address homelessness in the community.
Read the full resolution HERE.
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