Redwood City — The County of San Mateo and its partners will provide permanent housing and high-quality support services to dozens of formerly homeless residents thanks to nearly $16 million in state Homekey funds.
Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced the award — the County’s third Homekey allocation — to purchase, rehabilitate and operate the Comfort Inn & Suites, a 51-room at 1818 El Camino in Redwood City centrally located near public transportation and key resources including a library, grocery store, Kaiser and Fair Oaks Health Center.
The rooms, which already have full bathrooms, will be renovated to add kitchenettes and on Monday the Redwood City Council will consider contributing more than $1.3 million in unspent federal funds toward those costs.
In addition to an affordable apartment, residents will receive on-site services such as education, employment, mental health rehabilitation and medical assistance through partners Alta Housing and the Mental Health Association of San Mateo County.
“Every homeless individual in San Mateo County who wants shelter deserves the opportunity to receive it and these funds provide an amazing opportunity to do that. These funds create real and lasting change in the lives of those they help and bring us one step closer to reaching functional zero homelessness,” said County Manager Mike Callagy.
Callagy praised the governor for his commitment, and also the many County staff across departments who worked diligently on all Homekey applications, resulting in a total of $117 million in state funding to further local efforts to end homelessness.
The County in November 2020 received $33 million in Homekey funding to purchase two properties: the Pacific Inn in Redwood City as a temporary shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, and the TownePlace Suites Hotel in Redwood Shores for permanent senior housing.
In December 2021, the state awarded the County an additional $68 million in Homekey grants. One grant of $55.3 million is being used to construct and operate the state-of-the-art Navigation Center with 240 units east of Highway 101 in Redwood City. A second of $13.5 million was made to support the purchase, rehabilitation and operation of the Stone Villa Inn, a 44-room in San Mateo which will provide immediate, temporary shelter and services aimed at helping residents exit to permanent housing. Taken together, it was the largest housing grant in county history.
More than 1,500 county residents experienced homelessness on the night of the 2019 One-Day Homeless Count with more than 900 unsheltered. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated medical, social and economic impacts worsened the county’s housing crisis and strained existing shelter capacity.