The roadmap to San Jose’s Project Homekey proposals
Formerly unhoused resident Laura Lafore said she lives at SureStay Hotel in North San Jose rent-free because of emergency relief funds from the state's Project Homekey program. Photo by Vicente Vera.

    With the recent influx in state and federal funding for homeless housing, San Jose is racing to add roughly 550 units of permanent and interim housing across the city.

    In September, Mayor Sam Liccardo and several councilmembers proposed a lofty goal to provide 2,300 new permanent and transitional housing units by the end of 2022 to address San Jose’s growing homelessness crisis.

    The proposal came as state and federal governments announced big spending plans to house people living on the streets. To meet its own goal, San Jose is turning to the state’s Project Homekey, a $2.75 billion grant program for homeless housing that started taking applications in October.

    The city wants to convert four hotels into permanent or interim housing and develop one new interim housing project on city-owned property in District 10. Each unit could cost at least $200,000 to build—significantly cheaper than building a permanent unit at roughly $850,000, city officials said.

    Last year, the state granted San Jose $12 million to acquire a SureStay hotel in North San Jose and convert into affordable housing. But after the city attempted to collect rents that were incorrectly calculated, the hotel remains as an interim housing site.

    The city plans to submit the applications by the end of the year. The state has 45 days to respond to an application.

    Here are the five Project Homekey proposals San Jose is planning for:

    Residence Inn

    The Residence Inn, equipped with 150 one- and two-bedroom units with a kitchen, would target families, Councilmember Sergio Jimenez said at a November community meeting. This would be the third homeless housing project in Jimenez's district, which hosts two interim housing sites on Rue Ferrari and Monterey Road. The project has garnered some opposition from residents.

    "I don't think District 2 is taking the brunt of this," Jimenez said at the meeting. "We're taking a leadership role and stepping up to do what we can."

    The building is also close to public transit and other amenities such as grocery stores, schools and job centers.

    Santa Clara County Housing Authority would own the property under the current proposal. Jamboree, a nonprofit builder with 31 years of experience, will rehabilitate the building and serve as property manager.

    Pavilion Inn

    A project led by Santa Clara County Housing Authority, the Pavilion Inn would serve youth aging out of the foster care system. The agency would own the property if the application is granted. Jamboree will help renovate the building, and the Bill Wilson Center will provide on-site services.

    “I’m excited for this hotel conversion because it’s perfect for young adults,” Bill Wilson Center CEO Sparky Harlan said at an October meeting. “The purpose is to transition to permanency.”

    The new housing project could provide young people in the transitional age, between 16 and 25 years old, up to two years of housing. The center will focus on helping residents at the site from falling into poverty.

    Pacific Motor Inn

    Pacific Motor Inn has served as a Project Roomkey site in San Jose, which shelters unhoused residents who might be at risk because of COVID-19.

    The current proposal, which asks for $18 million, would allow the city to continue sheltering unhoused residents and helping them find permanent housing. San Jose and its partner would also work to redevelop the site into an affordable housing project in the next several years, said Laura Sandoval, regional director of PATH Ventures and San José Spotlight columnist.

    Many local businesses and property owners in the heart of San Jose’s SoFA district, where the inn is located, oppose the project, citing security concerns.

    “We do include some security in our budget,” Sandoval said at an October meeting.

    Arena Hotel

    Partnering with affordable housing developer Urban Housing Communities, San Jose plans to convert the 89-unit hotel into housing for individuals and families—with future plans to knock down the building to build up to 200 affordable housing units.

    "This is a way to get people housed quickly, but then we can also develop that site to get additional units," Councilmember Dev Davis told San José Spotlight. The hotel is in her district. "And the services piece is also key."

    HomeFirst, who manages four other sites in San Jose, will provide the on-site supportive services.

    Davis' office will also form a neighborhood advisory group early next year to keep nearby residents and businesses updated on the project.

    About a dozen unhoused people reside in the encampment established on the corner of Branham Lane and Monterey Road in San Jose. Photo by Vicente Vera.

    New Emergency Interim Housing Site

    San Jose is also looking to replicate a model at an interim housing site in Mountain View through its partnership with LifeMoves. If approved, the three-story project with 176 units would be among one of the largest transitional housing sites in the county.

    The project, at the corner of Branham Lane and Monterey Road, would replace an encampment that grew over the pandemic, and already received a $5 million donation from real estate developer John Sobrato.

    The project is in Councilmember Matt Mahan's district, who said having the site on city-owned land will help keep the cost per unit down.

    “It's an opportunity for us to both help people transition out of homelessness and improve the quality of life in the neighborhood,” Mahan told San José Spotlight.

    The project has faced fierce opposition from the community, but Mahan said he’s confident the project will improve the neighborhood’s quality of life.

    Contact Tran Nguyen at tra[email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.

    Homeless projects at a glance

    Residence Inn

    • Address: 6111 San Ignacio Avenue
    • Numbers of units: 150
    • Type: Permanent
    • District: 2
    • City partners: Santa Clara County Housing Authority, Jamboree
    • Proposed cost: $55 million


    Pavilion Inn

    • Address: 1280 N. 4th Street
    • Numbers of unit: 61
    • Type: Interim housing for homeless youth
    • District: 3
    • City partners: Santa Clara County Housing Authority, Jamboree, the Bill Wilson Center
    • Proposed cost: $15.25 million


    Pacific Motor Inn

    • Address: 455 S. 2nd Street
    • Numbers of unit: 72
    • Type: Permanent supportive housing
    • District: 3
    • City partner: PATH Ventures
    • Proposed cost: $18 million


    Arena Hotel

    • Address: 817 The Alameda
    • Numbers of unit: 89
    • Type: Permanent supportive housing
    • District: 6
    • City partners: Urban Housing Communities, HomeFirst
    • Proposed cost: $25 million


    New Emergency Interim Housing Site

    • Address: Intersection of Branham Lane & Monterey Road
    • Numbers of unit: 176
    • Type: Interim housing
    • District: 10
    • City partner: LifeMoves
    • Proposed cost: $49 million
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