City Council Votes Unanimously to Spend $106M to Buy Hotels to House Homeless

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Two San Diego hotels will become permanent housing -- with support services -- for the homeless.

San Diego's City Council -- acting in its capacity as the city's housing authority -- voted unanimously on Tuesday to pay $106.5 million to purchase the Residence Inn Hotel Circle and Residence Inn Kearny Mesa into permanent homes for homeless people currently sheltered at the downtown convention center and elsewhere.

"By converting these hotels into housing -- and continuing to navigate folks into other housing -- our region will continue to lead the state on solutions to reduce homelessness," said San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The Hotel Circle site will cost the city $67 million, while Kearny Mesa will be $39.5 million. Those figures do not include closing or renovation costs, a housing official said. That breaks down to about $321,000 per residence.

Approximately 400 people will live in the 332 residences, officials said. Each home will have a kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom and living room area.

On-site support services would be provided by Father Joe’s Villages and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) in an agreement already worked out with the San Diego Housing Commission. PATH's projected costs for the first year would be $2.8 million; Father Joe's Villages would by $2.1 million.

A San Diego woman and her four children, who resorted to couch surfing and crowding into a friend's living room for five months till she got on her feet in the area, got an unbelievable gift this week.

Homeless people living in city shelters, including the convention center -- which opened on April 1 and where as many as a 1,000 homeless people per day are given places to sleep and support services -- would be eligible to move into the two sites. The efforts downtown were, at least in part, put into place "to prevent the spread of COVID-19," officials said about the facility. More than 650 people have been transitioned to permanent housing via the convention center, according to officials.

Ashley Bailey, San Diego's deputy director of communications and director of social media, told NBC 7 on Monday that funding for the convention center shelter will cost, through December, a total of $51.6 million, most of which was provided through the federal CARES Act, with contributions from city and regional governments as well.

City officials are trying to sunset the convention center housing solution by December.

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