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Project HomeKey to Flip Milpitas Motel into Long-Term Housing

Santa Clara County has secured $29.2 million from California’s Project HomeKey to convert an Extended Stay America in Milpitas into permanent homes for the homeless.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the funding Monday during his weekly “Newsom at Noon” press briefing. Project HomeKey—and its predecessor Project RoomKey—have been a key part of Newsom’s pandemic response to protect medically vulnerable homeless individuals from contracting Covid-19.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development plans to allocate $550 million by the end of this year to help local governments rehabilitate hotels, motels, vacant apartments and residential care facilities to house homeless individuals and families. The latest round of cash, which totals $236 million, will help 12 local jurisdictions and one tribe secure 1,810 new units across the state.

“There’s simply not a state in America that’s committed to this kind of capital infusion to purchase motels and provide for permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals,” Newsom said during his presser earlier this week.

In Milpitas, Project HomeKey will help transform the 146-room Extended Stay America at 1000 Hillview Ct. into 132 apartments for formerly homeless residents. The new development will be aptly renamed Hillview Court.

“This funding comes at a time when the need for affordable housing is greater than ever, as the current pandemic exacerbates the challenges being faced by our most vulnerable residents,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in a news release about the funding. “Service-enriched permanent housing is a proven solution.”

The county’s Office of Supportive Housing worked with nonprofit Destination: Home and developer Jamboree Housing Corp. to submit the application for funding to the state.

“Housing is the true solution to homelessness, and this unique project will allow us to immediately bring people inside into permanent housing for our most vulnerable neighbors,” Destination: Home CEO Jennifer Loving said in a statement.

On top of the 132 apartments, Hillview Court will have two additional managers’ units and onsite supportive services, according to an Aug. 25 memo from Milpitas Building Safety and Housing Director Sharon Goei.

Some of the existing ground floor rooms will be converted into a community area with space for a kitchen, laundry, multipurpose rooms, counseling rooms, case management offices, wellness classes, educational programs and more.

Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran told San Jose Inside that “the funding has been really done at a speed [he has] never seen for housing for the unsheltered homeless.”

“I am almost shocked that our city has been awarded such a valuable amount of money,” he added. “We continue to ask for government dollars at the state and the county level so we can build more housing for the homeless.”

Milpitas Vice Mayor Bob Nuñez, who serves on the City Council’s housing subcommittee said the Hillview Court project is “significant headway in our fight to end homelessness.”

“I could not be more proud of how staff has represented the City of Milpitas,” Nuñez added. “We are part of a multi-agency partnership and the Homekey program that will transform lives. This is truly a unique opportunity to address critical housing needs.”

The city of Milpitas plans to hold a number of community meetings in the coming weeks to discuss more details of the project.