LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles received $209 million in funding through Project Homekey, a program that converts buildings into permanent housing in an effort to address the state's homelessness crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom and city officials announced Wednesday.
The city will convert seven sites into permanent housing and contribute an additional $157 million in matching funds. In total, the city will create 15 new permanent housing sites and 1,235 units through the second round of funding for the program.
It's part of $694 million in funds for the program the state announced on Wednesday, providing 2,500 more units across 35 projects to 19 counties. At a Project Homekey site on Pico Boulevard in Mid-City on Wednesday afternoon, Newsom announced that the state has funded a total of 12,500 units through the program in its two years at a cost of $244,000 per unit.
"We're just winding up," Newsom said. "These dollars are now moving. These projects are opening up. No more talk. No more task forces. No more fights for appropriations. We got the money. We have the strategies."
Los Angeles, CA - August 24: Governor Gavin Newsom makes a bed with help from Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Secretary of Business Consumer Services and Housing as he visits a Homekey site along Pico Blvd as he announces awards for homeless housing projects
Newsom said the homelessness crisis in California is unacceptable, and that "people are right to be angry." He praised Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for leading the charge with Project Homekey and getting other mayors on board.
"This is part of much bigger than a drop in the bucket," Garcetti said. "This is part of a torrent of solutions that are coming."
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for Project Homekey until funds are exhausted. The state expanded the program with a $2.75 billion allocation last year, with a goal of creating 14,000 long-term housing units. The state began the program with $846 million in funding.
Garcetti and Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor and has also helped procure federal funding toward housing locally, appeared with Newsom at the announcement.
"This is an example of the solution," said Bass, D-Los Angeles. "We obviously have to get people off the street right away into temporary (housing), but at the end of the day, it's about permanent supportive housing. To be here today and to see this development, this is a very exciting step in the right direction."
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Los Angeles County received $243 million in funds. That will help convert 14 hotels and multi-family apartments into interim or permanent housing, adding 720 units in Boyle Heights, Compton, East Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Redondo Beach, Lancaster, San Pedro, Westlake, Woodland Hills and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
When asked if he would endorse Bass for mayor, Newsom demurred, instead praising both Bass and her opponent, billionaire developer Rick Caruso. Newsom said he typically stays out of races involving solely Democrats.
"I appreciate both of them for having a deep passion for this issue," Newsom said. "Both have put out comprehensive plans."