From hotel to homeless housing: Bay Area projects struggle to make the switch

8 November 2021

It seemed like a simple and speedy way to address the Bay Area’s massive homelessness problem — use pandemic funding to turn hotels into low-cost housing for people with nowhere else to go.

But it turns out, it’s not quite that easy.

Nearly a year after cities and counties throughout the region spent Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Homekey funding to buy properties for their homeless residents, some of the buildings still aren’t ready to provide long-term housing. Efforts to turn a motel near the San Jose airport into permanent housing have stopped in their tracks after a state lawmaker accused the city of proposing rents that would displace the very people it’s supposed to be helping. In Alameda County, plans to convert two hotels stalled because officials haven’t found nonprofit developers and service providers to take on the projects. And in the North Bay, a developer is scrambling to come up with money for extensive renovations on the buildings it bought.

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