City approves purchase of downtown motel to create more housing for people experiencing homelessness

The City Council this week took two significant steps in its ongoing work to address the homelessness crisis in Sacramento.

On Tuesday, the Council approved a plan to allocate more than $6 million in state funds to address homelessness. This is the second round of Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program funding the City has received from the state Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

The Council also approved a plan to use funds from a variety of sources to purchase a downtown motel and convert it to 92 units of permanent supportive housing.

The Sutter House motel, at 1100 H St., and an adjacent restaurant that is now closed will be converted into the Central Sacramento Studios project. The developer, Danco Communities, will do minor rehabilitation work necessary for the motel rooms to serve as permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. Nine rooms will be ADA accessible, and 15 rooms will be set aside for use under the state’s Mental Health Services Act. The project will have staff onsite 24/7 and offer wrap-around services to the residents.

“Getting people into housing and connected to services isn’t just good for the people being directly helped,” said Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who represents the district where the motel is located. “It’s a vital part of keeping our neighborhoods robust and beautiful, as well as ensuring that our economy is able to recover as quickly as possible.”

Under the HHAP funding, the La Mancha Homekey Project will see an allocation of $2 million to continue operating 100 permanent supportive housing units in a converted motel the city purchased last year under the State Homekey program. Another $3.5 million is being allocated to purchase and operate tiny or manufactured housing units for interim and permanent housing. And just over half a million dollars will be allocated to several non-profit organizations that operate sheltering programs aimed at youth aged 18-24.

“The La Mancha project is playing a vital role in providing housing to stabilize people who have recently experienced homelessness,” said Danielle Foster, the City’s housing policy manager. “The City’s partnership with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and Mercy in this project has assisted in moving forward the City Council’s work to respond to homelessness, including the recently adopted Comprehensive Siting Plan that calls out motel conversions as a strategy.”

Several City departments continue to evaluate the sites identified in the Comprehensive Siting Plan as potential new locations for various types of shelter and housing. Some of the sites have been set aside for tiny or manufactured homes that can be paid for by this round of HHAP funding.

In the past, the City and SHRA have found success employing the tiny-home approach at sites including the Emergency Bridge Housing at Grove Avenue that serves transitional-age youth.

“Youth sheltering is important, and we know that if we can find housing for young people experiencing homelessness, we can prevent them from becoming chronically homeless,” Foster said. “These funds integral to our work in assisting people who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness in the city of Sacramento.”

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