Local News Matters weekly newsletter

Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.

The cities of Salinas and Napa have been awarded a combined $47.6 million to convert old hotels and other buildings into housing for homeless residents.

The grants from the state’s Homekey program will enable the two cities to open more than 150 combined transitional and permanent housing units.

The city of Salinas will receive a pair of grants worth roughly $13.2 million and $16.3 million to purchase two former hotels — the Salinas Inn and the Sanborn Inn.

One of the properties will be converted into 42 permanent housing units for chronically homeless residents while the other will be converted into 57 transitional housing units for people who are chronically homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

According to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, the city intends to eventually turn the latter property into permanent housing. Both properties will include on-site services like job training, adult education and case management.

Napa will receive roughly $18.1 million to purchase and convert a motel into 54 permanent housing units, which will be made available to homeless residents, homeless youth and those who are chronically homeless.

Once complete, the housing complex will include similar supportive services to those in the two Salinas projects.

The state launched the Homekey program in 2020 with the intent of expanding housing access by converting vacant hotels, motels and other buildings into both permanent and interim housing.

The program grew out of the state’s Project Roomkey, a similar process of leasing empty hotel and motel rooms to provide homeless residents shelter and a place to quarantine at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Homekey’s initial launch, the state has awarded some $1.3 billion in grants to create 7,700 new housing units exclusively for homeless residents.

A total of seven projects were included in the governor’s Feb. 16 announcement, for which the state has awarded roughly $116.3 million and will eventually yield 387 housing units, including those in Salinas and Napa.

“Our historic response towards homelessness has housed thousands of individuals at an unprecedented rate since the start of the pandemic,” Newsom said. “Today’s announcement will bring 387 housing units for those most in need of a home.”

The state plans to continue awarding Homekey grants through at least May 2, 2022, or until the program’s current round of funding is exhausted.