What is being planned?
The County of San Mateo is purchasing the Pacific Inn hotel in order to create a new shelter program to serve people experiencing homelessness, with the long term goal of converting the site into affordable housing. This new planned homeless shelter program will provide safe temporary living accommodations and intensive on-site support services to assist people experiencing homelessness with finding and moving into permanent housing.
Why is this program being created?
There are significant needs to provide additional shelter for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The 2019 One Day Homeless Count found that there were 901 unsheltered homeless individuals living in San Mateo County including 221 in Redwood City, which is the highest number of unsheltered individuals of any city in the county. Shelters are a critical part of the community’s comprehensive homeless crisis response system to assist people experiencing homelessness to have a safe place to stay while receiving case management and other assistance to help them return to permanent housing as quickly as possible.
Who will be served?
The program will serve San Mateo County residents who are experiencing homelessness. The program is planned to serve adults experiencing homelessness, as the largest need for shelter is for adults, since there are robust existing services for families experiencing homelessness in the County.
Why is this occurring now and why is it being implemented so quickly?
The acquisition is part of the Project Homekey initiative established by the State of California. Project Homekey is a follow-up response to the Project Roomkey program that was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Project Roomkey was a statewide initiative for people experiencing homelessness who were at high-risk of severe illness if they are exposed to COVID-19 to be placed in hotels for shelter.
Project Homekey is a follow-up to that program that allowed local communities to apply for funding to to purchase hotels with the intention of creating new shelters and permanent housing. The Project Homekey funds to support the acquisition of the Pacific Inn provide a unique opportunity to create a new program to meet some of the community’s needs for additional shelter capacity. Given the state’s Project Homekey funding timeline, the acquisition process was completed at an expedited pace.
Will the program be staffed 24/7?
Yes, the program will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The on-site staff will monitor the site and activities at all times, ensuring safety and security.
Will services be provided on site?
Yes. The program will provide intensive on-site services. The program’s case managers will conduct a thorough assessment with each program participant, and based on that assessment, the program will create a plan to assist each participant with identifying and returning to housing, including case management, support in searching for housing, employment support, applying for financial resources, and connections to health services (including mental health and substance abuse services). The program will provide intensive on-site services to all participants and will also partner with existing community services, such as Fair Oaks Community Center. Food will also be provided, and laundry machines are available on site. Program participants will have to abide by program rules to continue their enrollment in the program.
What are the expectations of the program participants?
Those enrolled in the program will need to comply with program rules and requirements. A sample Program Rules document is provided for your reference.
How long will participants stay at the shelter?
Homeless shelter programs are intended to be short-term; each individual’s length of stay in the program will vary, but generally lengths of stay may be between 4-6 months or longer. The intention of a shelter program is to provide temporary housing while assisting individuals in finding permanent housing. Case management services will be focused on long term housing interventions.
Who will be providing the services on site?
The County’s Human Services Agency and Department of Housing are conducting a process to select an experienced non-profit agency to provide the shelter services on site. The County is collaborating with the City of Redwood City on the process of planning for provider selection and overall program planning. The non-profit agency will have extensive experience in providing shelter services. The County will work closely with the selected non-profit agency on the implementation and launch of the program and the County will provide ongoing oversight and support of the program going forward.
Is this program specifically for people who have COVID-19?
No, this program is not for those needing isolation due to COVID-19. This program will be for people experiencing homelessness, focusing on those who are vulnerable (elderly and/or with existing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, etc.).
When will the program start?
The County will be working on preparations in the coming weeks and the first clients are expected to begin moving on site in late February or early March 2021. The state Project Homekey initiative requires that the program be at least 50% occupied within 90 days of acquisition and 100% occupied within two months after that. The County will work closely with the City of Redwood City and community stakeholders throughout the planning and implementation process.
Site Selection and Future Plans
How was the hotel acquisition funded?
The hotel purchase was funded with state Project Homekey funds and County CARES Act funds from the federal government. Shelter program operations will be funded by a combination of state and federal sources, and additional funding sources (such as philanthropy) will be explored by the County and the non-profit agency providing the services.
How was the hotel identified to purchase?
The state established an aggressive timeline for local jurisdictions to identify appropriate properties to provide interim and permanent housing under the Homekey program. In order to meet the state’s timeline, the County contacted hotel owners countywide, working with local business groups and hospitality industry representatives. The County met with nearly 100 hotel owners, receiving interest from roughly ten property owners.
Through a comprehensive review process during the Homekey application planning process, the County identified the Pacific Inn and subsequently TownePlace Suites as properties that were the best fit to provide interim housing for the homeless and permanent housing for extremely low-income seniors. Considerations included factors such as public transit access and walkability. After the Homekey funding application process, the County began a process for acquiring a third hotel, located in Half Moon Bay, to be used to create additional homeless shelter capacity and eventually affordable housing.
Going forward in the program planning process, the County looks forward to working with the community on the implementation of this program. The County and the selected non-profit service provider agency will work to establish collaborations with neighbors and community stakeholders. Once the program is implemented, there may be additional opportunities for community involvement, such as volunteer opportunities.
Why is this hotel being used for a shelter program while the other hotel in Redwood City is being used for housing?
As the County was working on the Project Homekey funding process and the acquisition process, it became clear that TownePlace Suites could be utilized immediately to create affordable housing for extremely low income seniors, as each unit has an existing kitchen. There is a significant need for additional shelter programs, so Pacific Inn, as well as a planned hotel in Half Moon Bay, are planned to be utilized to crate new shelter programs, and then be converted into affordable housing at a later date.
What will be the process to transition the site into permanent housing?
Project Homekey, the funding source established by the State of California that is a primary source of funding for this acquisition, has a goal that the ultimate use of the site is permanent, affordable housing. The County looks forward to working with the community and the City of Redwood City to determine the process of transitioning the program into permanent housing at a future point in time, but in the near term, there is significant need for additional shelter capacity so the site will be used to create a new shelter program. Prior to converting the site into affordable housing, there will be a process for community engagement about the transition and the process to convert to housing.
Who is responsible for determining whether the site will be re-developed?
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is responsible for deciding whether the site will be re-developed.
What will be the impact on City revenue?
The Pacific Inn property will be removed from the property tax roll and will no longer generate Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) as it will not be functioning as a hotel anymore, however there will also be benefits to the city and local community as there will be more resources for people experiencing homelessness. The County will work with the City on this topic.
Community Involvement and Next Steps
How can the community be involved?
The County looks forward to working with the community on the implementation of this program.
Once a non-profit provider is selected, the County will work closely with the selected non-profit provider on all aspects of the programs, and the County will work with the City, neighborhood associations, and community stakeholders to establish ongoing collaboration about the program. Once the program is implemented, there may be additional opportunities for community involvement, such as volunteer opportunities.
If issues occur, who can we contact?
The County and the non-profit agency will work intensively to prevent issues and to address any concerns that occur. Once the non-profit agency has been selected and is getting ready to launch the services, the agency’s contact information will be shared with local stakeholders including neighbors. In addition, the County Manager Mike Callagy (MCallagy@smcgov.org) and the Human Services Agency Director Ken Cole (firstname.lastname@example.org) can also be contacted.
How can I get more information and updates?
Sample Program Rules for Non-Congregate Shelter Program
SAMPLE PROGRAM RULES FOR NON-CONGREGATE SHELTER PROGRAM
Welcome and Program Rules
Welcome! Here are some things to know during your stay here. This program’s goal is to provide a safe, welcoming, supportive place for people to stay while they work on finding permanent housing. You will be provided with services from your case manager to help you create a housing plan and also connect to other resources. Please read through the rules/protocols below to ensure all participants are safe during their stay here.
Meals: You will receive breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and have access to small snacks in between meals.
Rooms: Please maintain the cleanliness of your room. Please note that significant room damage will lead to being exited from the program.
Visitors: Visitors to your room are not allowed without prior approval. Having guests on site or in your room without prior approval will lead to being exited from the program.
Quiet Hours: Please keep the noise level down between the hours of 10 pm-6 am. There is also an expectation that program participants are in their rooms between the hours of 10 pm-6 am unless they have communicated with their case manager ahead of time for exceptions about their job or special circumstances.
Respecting Neighbors/Adjacent Properties/Businesses: All program participants are required to be respectful of the neighbors including adjacent properties and businesses, including no loitering. Disrespecting the neighbors’ property or businesses will lead to being exited from the program.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times you are outside of your room. If you need replacement masks, please contact any staff.
- Follow social distancing guidelines by having at least 6 feet of space between you and another person.
- Complete the daily temperature check: Staff will conduct a temperature check daily with each program participant. If staff can’t find you for the daily temperature check, a wellness check will be done.
- Smoking (including marijuana) is not allowed inside any part of the building, including in rooms.
- The cigarette smoking area is located outside at _(description of location)_ .
- Tampering with or disabling your room’s smoke detectors will lead to being exited from the program.
Alcohol and Drugs:
- Drugs and alcohol are not permitted on site. Items related to drug or alcohol use on site, including needles, found in your room may lead to you being exited from the program due to the safety of participants and staff.
- If you would like to talk to someone about alcohol or drug use or strategies to decrease use, your case manager would be happy to discuss with you and help you connect you to various supportive service options.
Questions or concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with your case manager or the program director, and if you have any urgent concerns or questions, please contact the staff who is on site at that time, as there are always staff on-site to assist and respond to any issues.
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