Project Homekey. (304308)
Project Homekey. Credit: LA County

Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Rep. Karen Bass (D-37) joined with Veronica Lewis, the director of the Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System (HOPICS) and Victor James, HOPICS associate director of Interim Housing, to open South LA’s first Project Home Key site for unhoused Angelenos last week.

The location, previously known as the EC Motel, will provide shelter and support services and transitional space for thirty-one unhoused persons. After five years, the units will turn into Permanent Supportive Housing.

Harris-Dawson collaborated with HOPICS to bring this service to the site near Western Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard. HOPICS uses a holistic approach that considers multiple factors, ultimately providing an array of services that help people affect change in their own lives.

Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19.

Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding has been made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing.

Of the $600 million in Homekey grant funds, $550 million is derived from the State’s direct allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds (CRF), and $50 million is derived from the State’s General Fund.

HOPICS prioritizes its core value of treating every client with dignity and respect with each encounter and subscribes to the tenants of the “housing first” model by providing community-based linkages to housing (emergency, transitional, and permanent), outreach and engagement, behavioral health referrals, mainstream benefits assistance, and follow-up services to ensure long-term housing stability.

Lewis oversees more than 50 million dollars in annual funding for 30 different programs from 13 funders for mental health, substance use disorder treatment, reentry support, homeless and housing services, trauma-focused services; and a multidisciplinary team of 275 employees. For more information, visit hopics.org.