Homekey grants will fund new homeless shelter & hotel purchase
December 15, 2021
  • Redwood City — The County of San Mateo will soon house hundreds of vulnerable residents experiencing or at risk of homelessness as early as next year thanks to $68 million in state Homekey funds.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced funding that will help the County pay for the two projects that further the commitment to end homelessness. First, the County will receive $55.3 million to construct and operate the state-of-the art Navigation Center with 240 units east of Highway 101 in Redwood City.  The center, which will provide shelter, intensive case management and other supportive services, will replace the aging Maple Street Shelter when it opens in late 2022.

    Second, the state awarded the County $13.5 million to purchase, rehabilitate and operate the Stone Villa Inn in San Mateo, a 44-room hotel which will provide immediate, temporary shelter, services and skill-building to help residents exit to permanent housing. Seven of the units will be ADA-compliant.

    Together, the awards — the largest housing grant in county history — will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of residents by not only providing shelter but also intensive services to help them move into permanent housing.

    “This is a reflection of the state’s and County’s values that if you make the commitment, you can send people who are homeless on a path toward stable lives if you provide them with intensive support services such as job training, counseling and more. San Mateo County can achieve functional zero homelessness with the help of these two projects and I want to praise our staff for the hard work they have done to secure these life- and community-changing awards,” said David J. Canepa, president of the Board of Supervisors.

    The County previously received $33 million Homekey funds to purchase two hotels totaling 170 rooms in Redwood City and Redwood Shores. The former hotels provide long-term housing and shelter to vulnerable residents including those who lost shelter due to COVID-19. The state also awarded Project Roomkey money to lease rooms at several sites throughout the county including Bayfront Station, a local hotel used to shelter homeless individuals at high risk of COVID-19, which has since closed due to the new Homekey projects.

    More than 1,500 county residents experienced homelessness on the night of the 2019 One-Day Homeless Count with more than 900 unsheltered. The pandemic and its associated medical, social and economic impacts worsened the county’s housing crisis and strained existing shelter capacity. 

    County leaders thanked the governor for his investment in Homekey and San Mateo County.

    “This will change the face of homelessness in our county. This is a tremendous opportunity to help our entire community by ensuring that every homeless individual who wants shelter can find it and are treated with dignity and respect. These are real people with real issues and these funds will change lives,” said County Manager Mike Callagy, who said the governor’s commitment to end homelessness and personal call to inform him of the award speaks to Newsom’s strength as a leader. “These two projects are shovel-ready — the land for the Navigation Center is being prepared for construction and the hotel contract is being finalized. This means we are that much closer to ending homelessness in San Mateo County.” 

    Callagy also lauded the many County staff across departments who worked tirelessly to be among the first applications to the state in this second round of Homekey funding. 

    “Our employees have and will change the lives of many of our most vulnerable by this seemingly impossible accomplishment,” Callagy said.