News

Palo Alto's Homekey project gains $4M from Challenge Grant program

Transitional housing one step closer to reality for unhoused community members

The new design for the proposed Palo Alto HomeKey project would feature 88 units in three-story buildings. Courtesy city of Palo Alto.

Palo Alto's planned transitional housing complex received a boost from Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday, as they unanimously approved $4 million from the Challenge Grant program to support the project.

The pending development on San Antonio Road, along with another on Branham Lane in San Jose, are part of the first cycle of the Challenge Grant, which has set aside $40 million in county funding to support the development of interim housing sites. Projects can receive up to $4 million from the grant for capital and operational expenses. Both projects also have received financial support from the state's Homekey program, which awards grants for housing projects benefiting the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.

"The hope is that cities and nonprofit partners throughout the county will be able to leverage these funds, combined with other sources, to move these projects forward quickly," according to a press release from supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee.

The two supervisors introduced Challenge Grant more than a year ago with the intention to combat homelessness by providing emergency shelter housing. "We made the proposal a 'challenge grant' to encourage others to step up and join us: cities, private philanthropy, and the State, because no one can do this alone," Simitian said in the press release.

Lee also addressed the need for a coordinated effort to tackle the county's housing crisis. "We have to collaborate to bring quick housing solutions to the community," he said in the release.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Homekey projects aim to provide this quick solution. They use modular, prefabricated units that offer flexibility and speed in the design, development and construction of interim housing sites, which can be completed within 12 months, according to the city's Department of Planning and Development.

The Palo Alto project, which is being co-developed with the nonprofit LifeMoves and the city of Palo Alto, plans on using modular units stacked two to three stories high that ultimately will serve 64 single adults and 24 families, accommodating more than 200 people annually.

The design features of the site also emphasize efficiency, functionality and security. "Ensuite bathrooms and private meeting spaces … promote privacy and security while working closely with clients to secure and return to stable housing. Common area amenities include a shared cooking area, laundry facilities as well as pet accommodations," the press release stated.

Lee offered some personal insights about the utility of these arrangements. "While deployed in Iraq with the military, I lived in a containerized housing unit for a year," he said in the release. "It was a small and secured place to rest. The unit was a safe and practical housing solution and it sure beats living in a tent, which I also experienced in the desert," he added.

On-site support services will be provided too, primarily through LifeMoves. This includes counseling, employment and housing services to help individuals and families transition to permanent housing. "Residents will receive the support of full wrap-around services to provide them with the medical, social, and other services needed to transition them to better futures," Mayor Pat Burt said in the press release.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

He also described the financial investments that made the interim housing development a possibility: $26 million from the state's Homekey fund, $11 million from the city in land and operational expenses, $7 million from LifeMoves and $5 million from Sobrato Philanthropies.

For LifeMoves CEO Aubrey Merriman, these public, private and service partnerships are critical for addressing the multidimensional complexity of homelessness. The partnerships also show a strong commitment to the county's 2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homeless — a plan that aims to double temporary housing and shelter capacity to reduce the number of people sleeping outside. "Together we can make that happen," Merriman said in the press release.

While he agreed that transitional housing is one step in that direction, Simitian acknowledged the need to do more to help the community's unhoused population. "We know interim shelter is only part of the solution," he said. "But we can't allow folks to remain on our streets while they wait for permanent housing."

The anticipated completion date of the Palo Alto project is late summer 2023, according to the city.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Palo Alto's Homekey project gains $4M from Challenge Grant program

Transitional housing one step closer to reality for unhoused community members

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 6, 2022, 9:29 am

Palo Alto's planned transitional housing complex received a boost from Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday, as they unanimously approved $4 million from the Challenge Grant program to support the project.

The pending development on San Antonio Road, along with another on Branham Lane in San Jose, are part of the first cycle of the Challenge Grant, which has set aside $40 million in county funding to support the development of interim housing sites. Projects can receive up to $4 million from the grant for capital and operational expenses. Both projects also have received financial support from the state's Homekey program, which awards grants for housing projects benefiting the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.

"The hope is that cities and nonprofit partners throughout the county will be able to leverage these funds, combined with other sources, to move these projects forward quickly," according to a press release from supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee.

The two supervisors introduced Challenge Grant more than a year ago with the intention to combat homelessness by providing emergency shelter housing. "We made the proposal a 'challenge grant' to encourage others to step up and join us: cities, private philanthropy, and the State, because no one can do this alone," Simitian said in the press release.

Lee also addressed the need for a coordinated effort to tackle the county's housing crisis. "We have to collaborate to bring quick housing solutions to the community," he said in the release.

Homekey projects aim to provide this quick solution. They use modular, prefabricated units that offer flexibility and speed in the design, development and construction of interim housing sites, which can be completed within 12 months, according to the city's Department of Planning and Development.

The Palo Alto project, which is being co-developed with the nonprofit LifeMoves and the city of Palo Alto, plans on using modular units stacked two to three stories high that ultimately will serve 64 single adults and 24 families, accommodating more than 200 people annually.

The design features of the site also emphasize efficiency, functionality and security. "Ensuite bathrooms and private meeting spaces … promote privacy and security while working closely with clients to secure and return to stable housing. Common area amenities include a shared cooking area, laundry facilities as well as pet accommodations," the press release stated.

Lee offered some personal insights about the utility of these arrangements. "While deployed in Iraq with the military, I lived in a containerized housing unit for a year," he said in the release. "It was a small and secured place to rest. The unit was a safe and practical housing solution and it sure beats living in a tent, which I also experienced in the desert," he added.

On-site support services will be provided too, primarily through LifeMoves. This includes counseling, employment and housing services to help individuals and families transition to permanent housing. "Residents will receive the support of full wrap-around services to provide them with the medical, social, and other services needed to transition them to better futures," Mayor Pat Burt said in the press release.

He also described the financial investments that made the interim housing development a possibility: $26 million from the state's Homekey fund, $11 million from the city in land and operational expenses, $7 million from LifeMoves and $5 million from Sobrato Philanthropies.

For LifeMoves CEO Aubrey Merriman, these public, private and service partnerships are critical for addressing the multidimensional complexity of homelessness. The partnerships also show a strong commitment to the county's 2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homeless — a plan that aims to double temporary housing and shelter capacity to reduce the number of people sleeping outside. "Together we can make that happen," Merriman said in the press release.

While he agreed that transitional housing is one step in that direction, Simitian acknowledged the need to do more to help the community's unhoused population. "We know interim shelter is only part of the solution," he said. "But we can't allow folks to remain on our streets while they wait for permanent housing."

The anticipated completion date of the Palo Alto project is late summer 2023, according to the city.

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.