San Diego

$300 a Month Rent Coming Downtown Next Year

New apartments will soon be available for homeless veterans and at-risk youth

Can you imagine paying only $300 a month in rent? That will soon be reality at one apartment building in downtown San Diego.

Right now, construction crews are converting Hotel Churchill off C Street & 9th Avenue into apartments for homeless veterans, teens moving out of foster care, and adults transitioning out of correctional centers.

 It's a $20.5 million project, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  is contributing most of the money.

Politicians like HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Congressman Scott Peters and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer toured the Hotel Churchill Monday to check the progress.
There will be 72 studio apartments, with 56 of those specifically for veterans. Each unit is fully furnished, with a kitchen, bathroom and central heat and air.
Residents will also receive on-site services like medication support, case management, emergency food and clothing. The studios will stay "affordable" for the next 65 years.

Here's how it works: A veteran must get a voucher from the V.A., with the average voucher amounting to $942 a month. The veteran pays 30 percent of that for an out-of-pocket cost of $283 in rent.
"We're working right now on not only flexibility with the (V.A.) vouchers, but also local apartment owners and others," said Faulconer.
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Rickee Little told NBC 7 he's a Vietnam veteran, working on staying off heroin and off the streets. Little hopes to transition from a sober living center to living on his own. Hotel Churchill could be an option.

"I would like to get my own place, that's what I really want. Get my own place, my own TV, have a good time. Just enjoy life and go fishing," said Little.

He and other veterans can move in starting June 2016.

The most common question reporters asked politicians after the tour: "What about federal funding not matching up with the number of homeless here in San Diego?"
Castro, the U.S. housing secretary, said he will open up a "comment period" to hear your opinions this spring.

"You very much are on our radar screen. We look forward at HUD to being good partners, and this won't be the last time I'm here," Castro said.
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