Home>Articles>Gov. Newsom Announces $694 Million for New Project Homekey Housing Units

Governor Newsom volunteers at a Project Homekey location in Los Angeles on August 24, 2022. (Photo: gov.ca.gov)

Gov. Newsom Announces $694 Million for New Project Homekey Housing Units

Many are upset about the price tag for Project Homekey, which ballooned to $3.75 billion

By Evan Symon, August 25, 2022 4:43 pm

During a visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that $694 million would be given to 35 Project Homekey projects across the state, amounting to around 2,500 new units for people in need. However, this latest award of funds also renews opposition against Project Roomkey/Homekey.

Since 2020, Project Roomkey, which gives homeless or those in need of housing temporary and long-term hotel rooms to live in, and Project Homekey, which aims to give affordable housing to those in need, have been funded by the state, with projects being placed across California, albeit with most being put in major cities. However, both projects have been widely viewed as failures, with Roomkey only filling 7,000 of 17,000 available room at it’s peak with it costing the state $100 million, and Homekey has not curbed homelessness as hoped, with the population actually growing despite the program in place.

Despite this, the state has kept funding projects. A revival of Roomkey has been mixed, with many areas bringing back available rooms while others, like LA, have rejected it due to strong opposition from hotel owners. Likewise, Homekey projects have also continued despite the failures, leading to Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Los Angeles was the biggest awardee on Wednesday, with ten projects funded, totaling $277.3 million for a total of 960 units. Other high amount awards include San Francisco, funded for two projects worth $73.4 million and 221 units, Fresno funded for four projects worth $57.9 million and 283 units, and San Jose, for a project worth $51.6 million for 204 interim units. Other cities getting Homekey funds include Fontana, the County of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Newark, Oakland, Palo Alto, Palm Springs, the County of San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, the County of Sonoma, Thousand Oaks, Stockton, the County of Ventura, and West Hollywood.

“With 12,500 new homes funded in just two years, Homekey is changing lives across the state,” said Governor Newsom during a volunteer event in LA celebrating two years of Project Homekey. “Homekey’s groundbreaking success is a model for the nation, showing that we can make real progress on ending homelessness in months, not years. In partnership with cities and counties like Los Angeles, we’ll continue to safely house Californians in need faster and more cost-effectively than ever.”

Others in attendance, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congresswoman Karen Bass, also spoke.

“Homekey is more than just another tool in our toolbox in the work to end homelessness – it’s an opportunity for thousands to start anew, and an injection of pride and dignity that can keep Angelenos off the street for good,” Mayor Garcetti said. “Thanks to this latest infusion of funds, hundreds of people experiencing homelessness today will be offered the stability of a permanent home, the safety of a door with a lock, and the services they need to get back on their feet.”

Problems with Homekey/Roomkey

However, many in California have opposed Project Roomkey/Homekey funding, citing that other projects designed to reduce homelessness would be better off funded, such as transitionary programs that are employment dependent and reduced cost housing vouchers. Many are also upset about the price tag for Project Homekey, which ballooned to $3.75 billion this year following Newsom adding another $150 million to the project in the 2022-2023 state budget.

“There are so many other projects out there worth funding to reduce homelessness that the state is ignoring for these programs which don’t have a great track record,” explained Ronald Wilson, a homeless policy advisor in Los Angeles who was also homeless for a time in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. “Housing is a part of it, but those who are homeless need jobs, need to be checked out mentally and physically, need some basics under their belts like clothes and a few basic starter appliances, need cell phones, and need the internet to start with. It’s not a “gimme, gimme gimme” welfare thing, there are a lot of things needed. And a focus on just housing is dangerous because it ignores a lot of those other needs, most critically food, while people transition to get jobs and build back up. You can’t just give someone an apartment and say goodbye and good luck. California did that during the Great Recession and the Pandemic and homelessness continued.”

“Look at how many were back on the streets after these projects ended. I mean you got a room, some food did come your way, and if you were lucky you had clothes, phone, and internet services to take advantage of. Some managed to eke it out. Many others did not. It didn’t help that people weren’t medically evaluated or evaluated for drug usage, because a lot of room transitioned out were destroyed in the process. People went through drug withdrawals without help because these projects just gave a room and thought that would make things square. Granted, there were some health and mental checks, but it wasn’t consistent. You needed a full checklist of 20 things, and some places had 12 or 9 or 15 of varying things, usually with one critical one missing that had people back out on the street.”

“So we had scenarios where a homeless person had a job interview, got clothes and everything, but the new housing unit they got didn’t have a working shower, so they had to go to the Y, and were late and didn’t get the job. Or a place gave shelter and clothes but didn’t give food to tide them over to the first paycheck.”

“It’s a mess. And if you do a more transitionary model, it’s ultimately cheaper plus you get to see returns on those investments through taxes paid by the homeless person who is now has a job and everything in society. Instead we have Roomkey and Housekey, projects that costs billions with little, if anything, to show.”

Other Project Homekey awards are expected to be made in the near future.

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13 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Announces $694 Million for New Project Homekey Housing Units

  1. What’s wrong with tent cities, they worked fine in the ARMY. Showers, mess hall, medical triage, get yourself together, move out, if you can’t follow the rules, go to an institution or jail. Nothing kind or understanding about watching people live like feral cats. Bureaucrat vampires would never approve of something so simplistic

    1. L.A.’s Union Rescue Mission, led by the Rev Andy Bales, and Sacramento’s similar organization, Union Gospel Mission, have had great success with a model like the one you describe. URMission takes all comers, sorts them out, provides treatment and a respite for those who are willing to do the work to get back on their feet. Part of their model is as you describe; e.g., clean drug-and-alcohol-free barracks-type housing with showers, meals, clean clothes, alongside supportive services such as addiction treatment, counseling, job connections and training, and the list goes on. And on. $10K a bed.
      Rev Bales has spent many many years attempting to share his successful blueprint with govt entities. They’re not interested. What does that tell you about the desires of the politicians, developers, and non-profits to retain the Homeless Industrial Complex?
      Rev. Bales has also been outspoken for years AGAINST the type of single-unit housing (condos, tiny housing) which is not only prohibitively expensive and thus cannot be sustained, but which also isolates the homeless person to continue addictions unseen and untreated. The Homeless Industrial Complex continues to push the “Housing First” model, in spite of evidence that it does nothing but make matters worse. As we have seen and continue to see with our own eyes.

  2. I specifically remember Newsom saying he wasn’t going to just throw money at the homelessness problem, but that is in fact, exactly what he has done, probably because he has no real solutions.

    1. I think people like Newsom and his cronies and beneficiaries are not interested in solutions. Proven solutions have been handed to Newsom and his ilk on a silver platter for decades. In my opinion these people are sociopaths and, to the extent they care at all what the average Joe Blow thinks, probably get a sick kick out of giving him the finger, lying to him, wringing more tax money out of him to finance themselves and retain their power over us at the same time the problem they purport to address — in this case “homelessness” —- only grows and grows and gets worse and worse every year.

  3. The goal of these politicians is simply to loot money from Project Homekey. Not only will Project Homekey do nothing to help the homeless but they need homelessness to keep going so they can keep stealing money. Their best outcome is for homelessness to get worse so they can demand more money!

  4. The price tag for Project Homekey program has ballooned to $3.75 billion? How much did the Democrat cabal and their cronies steal from the program?

  5. Has anyone ever stopped and gave water or food to the homeless or tried talking to them? I assume not because If you did you would see 50% of them need mental help not jail that’s not a solution either. that costs money too. the other 50% are willing to work but treated like shit when the boss finds out there homeless or been in jail because of being homeless. you ever think about what happens at night to people well they get raped, robbed, beat up, so they do drugs to get past it. who can they call for help noone. we need a structured program like Texas. if I had the money I would do it I know my ideas would work. Try understanding most of us are a paycheck away from being homeless. some people didn’t have hood parents and were not born into money. the parents didn’t teach them basics of life so how will they know?????????only hid should judge Noone else you should be helping. wake up people the world has so many mire things to worry about. like will we wake up tomorrow. God don’t like ugly!!!!

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