In July of 2020, the State of California launched a $750 million program called “Project Homekey”, with the aim of helping local communities rapidly acquire hotels, motels, commercial buildings, and other creative housing types in order to rapidly house people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. By December 29, 2020, the program had resulted in the acquisition of 94 projects, representing 6,029 units of permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. In Marin County specifically, we received approximately $8.6 million to aid the purchase of 63 new units of permanent supportive housing in San Rafael and Corte Madera.
Given the success of “Homekey 1.0”, the state has budgeted an additional $1.45 billion for Homekey in FY2021-22, and another $1.3 billion in 2022-23. We are expecting the NOFA for "Homekey 2.0" to come out in August or September of 2021.
To that end, Marin County Health & Human Services has issued a Request for Information seeking property owners and operators who are interested in potentially selling a property to the County and/or its development partner. While the priority deadlines for this solicitation has passed, it remains open and the County will continue to consider additional properties as they are submitted.
In July 2021, Marin selected Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco (ECS) as its development sponsor for potential Homekey properties. ECS currently has a portfolio of 16 permanent supportive housing projects, ranging in size from 256 units down to 33 units, collectively housing more than 1,600 formerly homeless people. Their development efforts began in 1994 with San Francisco’s first newly constructed permanent supportive housing project, and last year they worked with the City and County of San Francisco to acquire two separate properties through the Project Homekey 1.0 process. In addition to their housing programs, ECS also provides in-house workforce development, behavioral health, and healthy aging services.
As the primary Development Sponsor, ECS will take the lead on vetting the Homekey projects that have been submitted to date. If for whatever reason ECS declines to pursue a potentially viable project, two other development sponsor applicants, Eden Housing and EAH Housing, were determined to be highly qualified and will have an opportunity to consider that project.
Homekey 2.0 Info Sessions:
During the weeks of April 12th and April 19th, Opening Doors Marin, in partnership with the County of Marin, hosted a series of ten community information sessions about a possible “Homekey 2.0”. The goal of these sessions was to provide an overview of Homekey 1.0, describe what Homekey 2.0 might look like, and solicit community feedback about both the process and possible projects.
Recordings of all sessions are available here.
All sessions were open to the public and will present the same information. Presenters will answer questions and gather input on community needs. The sessions will not discuss specific potential HomeKey sites, but rather general criteria for what would make a feasible site. If you have a potential site in mind, please feel free to share that information with Opening Doors at email@example.com.
Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding has been made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing. On October 9, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that Marin County received grant funding through Homekey.
In the menu above, you will find frequently asked questions about Project Homekey, the County of Marin's application to HCD, and staff reports and presentations. Questions may be directed to Ashley Hart McIntyre, Homelessness Policy Analyst with Health and Human Services.