Oakland Scores $15.5 Million for Imperial Inn Makeover, A Homekey Initiative to Tackle Homelessness

Oakland Scores $15.5 Million for Imperial Inn Makeover, A Homekey Initiative to Tackle HomelessnessSource: City of Oakland
Tony Ng
Published on November 08, 2023

Oakland is making progressive strides to confront homelessness, courtesy of a $15.5 million award to transform the Imperial Inn hotel into permanent supportive housing (PSH) units for disadvantaged residents. As reported by the City of Oakland news, this funding is part of California's acclaimed Homekey program, a statewide initiative aimed at repurposing existing properties, such as motels and hotels, for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The Imperial Inn, situated in proximity to the MacArthur BART Station, is to be converted into 47 fabulous units of PSH within a span of a year. The task of developing and managing the property has been entrusted to Bay Area Community Services Housing Corp and Memar Properties, Inc. (MPI Homes), with supportive services for the residents to be provided by Bay Area Community Services (BACS). Trending seventh in Oakland’s Homekey project line-up, this development will add 323 new homes to the city for those in need.

Extending gratitude to California Governor Newsom's cooperation, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao emphasized the role of Homekey funding in alleviating the city's homelessness crisis. The inclusion of Homekey resources to rapidly and efficiently create permanent supportive housing has cemented it as a primary tool in resolving homelessness.

With a whopping total of over $75 million in funds from Homekey since 2020, Oakland's innovative strategies and collaborations to provide housing and services are receiving recognition. Emily Weinstein, the Interim Director of Oakland Housing & Community Development Department, noted that the Imperial Inn project is one of seven Homekey projects currently in progress in Oakland, including Clifton Hall, Inn at Temescal, Project Reclamation, Piedmont Place, Inn by the Coliseum, and Kingdom Builders Transitional Housing, providing diverse housing solutions for homeless youth, formerly incarcerated residents, veterans, and families.

To combat its housing crisis, Oakland is actively garnering different funding sources, including the Homekey project. This approach maximizes local investments by combining them with state and federal funding. Concurrently, the Oakland HCD is working diligently to develop a program named Rapid Response Homeless Housing (R2H2) to accelerate the evaluation process of housing proposals, thus establishing new housing opportunities without heavily relying on state funds.

While homelessness has long plagued Oakland, adamant to resolve this, the city's initiative is centered around the "3P" strategy: Protecting residents from displacement; Preserving existing affordable housing units; and Producing new, deeply affordable housing.