Millions to be Spent to Convert Bay Area Hotels Into Permanent Housing for Homeless

The money for the project comes from the state via a $550 million coronavirus aid relief fund.

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Millions of dollars are coming to the Bay Area to convert hotels into permanent housing for the homeless as part of a statewide project using more than half a billion federal dollars. But not everybody is happy about where some of the money is being spent.

Santa Clara County announced Tuesday it will receive almost $30 million as part of Project Homekey. These projects usually take years, but developers estimate this one will take months. 

The county’s goal is to buy the Extended Stay America on Hillview Court in Milpitas by November, using new money from the state. They would then renovate it, and by March, there would be 132 permanent rooms for the homeless.

“We’re talking about homes people can live in next year,” said Ray Bramson, COO of Destination: Home. “It’s very exciting. The sooner we can get people off the streets and into housing, the sooner our community as a whole is going to be thriving, healthier, and stronger.”

Bramson says there will be full-time services on site.

As part of the program, Contra Costa County and San Jose are on the list to get money to convert motels and properties into long-term housing, along with Oakland, Francisco, and Mountain View.

But at the Milpitas site, people who live around the corner have mixed feelings.

“We are torn on what to do,” said Jayesh and Poorva Desai of Milpitas. “We want to care [for] our homeless, but is this the right solution? Maybe not.”

Some residents say the community needs more of a say in the process. Others say they love the idea because they’re already using it as temporary housing. 

The money for the project comes from the state via a $550 million coronavirus aid relief fund. For the Milpitas site, Santa Clara County would have to match $20 million in October using funding from the 2016 voter-approved Measure A.

The county will hold a number of community meetings about this in the coming weeks.

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