SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)
The City of Salinas is moving forward with a plan to try and purchase a local motel for homeless housing.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, City Council members decided to pursue an "Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement" to purchase the Good Nite Inn on Work Street. The city would use the property as transitional housing and, later, supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
"It is a real impressive program that will have wrap-around services and put them back into the workforce and into more stable living situations,"
Salinas council member Steve McShane told KION last week. He adds, by year end we should be able to begin transitioning folks off the street and into a more stable environment and ultimately re-employment and a better place in life."
The motel has 103 rooms - 101 would be used for the homeless population and two for on-site property managers.
The money would come from a grant through "Homekey" (previously Project Roomkey), the state's $600 million plan to protect and house the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salinas' application to use "Homekey" funding for this purchase would have to be approved by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. A report published ahead of Tuesday's meeting writes that $20 million dollars has been set aside for the "Central Coast Region" (Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz counties).
The published "Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement" lists the purchase cost at $12,000,000, but the city's staff report says developers (Step Up and Shangri-La Construction) are willing to "partially finance" the project, so the grant request would instead be $6,965,000.
If the city receives the funding, it is required to complete escrow for the property by December 30. The plan is to make it permanent supportive housing within 12 to 18 months.
The 2019 Monterey County Homeless Point-In-Time Census & Survey lists 2,422 people in the county as being homeless, and 1,182 of them are in Salinas.
Of those 1,182 people, 976 were considered "unsheltered."
A new Monterey County "emergency shelter" is also under construction at 855 East Laurel Drive in Salinas with plans for approximately 100 beds, according to the county. Construction is expected to be completed next Spring.