Bay Area/ Oakland/ Politics & Govt
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Published on January 24, 2024
Oakland Secures $20.4 Million to Convert Quality Inn Into Housing for Homeless and Youth in TransitionSource: City of Oakland

Oakland, CA, has nabbed $20.4 million in state Homekey funds to transform the Quality Inn in District 7 into a residence for homeless and transitional-aged youth. The Golden State's generous award was part of a more extensive effort by Governor Gavin Newsom's administration to expand housing availability for at-risk populations rapidly.

Located at 8471 Enterprise Way, this motel makeover isn't marking time. "Oakland knows that the solution to homelessness is dignified housing, not allowing people to suffer on the streets," Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao boldly stated, according to a recent announcement. With this latest cash injection, the Quality Inn will get a new lease on life as 77 units will be dedicated to homeless residents, and a further 26 will be set aside for young adults aging out of foster care.

It's not just about a roof and four walls. The motel will convert each unit into a self-contained living space with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, with an income ceiling to include those most in financial straits. The project showcases Oakland as a leader in the region for turning around permanent supportive housing at what has been called record speeds.

But it's also been a concerted effort to right a glaring wrong. "Black Oaklanders account for over 60% of the unhoused in Oakland, despite making up only 22% of our community," said Councilmember Treva Reid. Speaking to the city's need to disrupt the disproportionate impacts of homelessness, she detailed the efforts to invest in strategies to permanently keep residents housed, as noted in their statement.

One of the essential gears in this machine, California Supportive Housing, will have ownership and developmental charge of the property, while Shelter, Inc. will oversee property management and services. Extra support tails in for the transitional-aged youth segment, with Beyond Emancipation providing necessary supplementary services.

The Homekey program, distinctive in its initiative since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has effectively offered prompt adaptations of hotels, motels, and other properties into homes for those without. As Gustavo Velasquez, Director at the State HCD, expressed, Homekey has fulfilled creative housing needs and services designed to help make homelessness a non-recurrent episode in lives.

Oakland isn't resting on this latest laurel, though. Its award tally from Homekey has now hit over $95 million since 2020, translating into more than 400 deeply affordable units to shelter the homeless across several innovative projects. Alongside Quality Inn, it includes repurposed motels, refurbished dormitories, and reimagined family homes. With homelessness and housing affordability at a fever pitch amongst concerns for Oakland residents, the city continues its multipronged strategy to protect, preserve, and produce housing solutions.