Project Homekey, billed as a "rare success" in California's efforts to bring its homeless population indoors, is getting a second act.

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced $2.75 billion infusion into the program, which allows cities and counties to tap into state funds to purchase and rehabilitate hotels, motels, and aging apartment buildings as long-term housing for persons experiencing homelessness. 

“California is moving with unprecedented speed to house people experiencing homelessness, through Homekey,” said Newsom in a prepared statement.  “We are going all in on solutions that work – tackling the homelessness crisis head-on with a constructive, compassionate approach and a focus on serving those with the most acute behavioral health needs. This investment will allow us to build on Homekey’s groundbreaking success – creating more housing, faster and with accountability and efficiency.”

A notice of funding availability was released yesterday by the state Department of Housing and Community Development in conjunction with the announcement.  The money from this latest round is expected to generate to the purchase or creation of up to 14,000 total homes.

Many of those could land in the City of Los Angeles, where the number of unhoused residents now surpasses 41,000.

“The pandemic has reinforced what we have long known: the only way to end the homelessness crisis is with more affordable, long term, and quality housing,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a news release. “Creative and lasting solutions like the Homekey program and this tiny home village will help meet the immediate and critical need for housing today, while giving our unhoused neighbors a path to a permanent place to call home tomorrow.”

By combining $120 million in Homekey grants with $60 million from other sources, the City of Los Angeles capitalized on the program to purchase 15 properties across Los Angeles during 2020.  The result was 744 new units of permanent supportive housing.

City officials expect that the new funding for Project Homekey, which will be disbursed over a two-year period, could generate between 500 and 1,000 supportive housing units in Los Angeles.

The Project Homkey funding is one component of a more than $12-billion spending package signed into law in July by Newsom which is aimed at tackling homelessness statewide.  It comes in addition to $10.3 billion slated to be spent on affordable housing.