City challenge to Newsom’s homeless-hotel plan risks Project Homekey statewide

(The Center Square) – A California city is suing one of the governor’s Homekey homeless-to-homeless-shelters projects, claiming the state constitution requires local residents to have the opportunity to vote on publicly-funded low-income housing.

Should the court side with the city, billions of dollars of projects across the state could be put on hold as they are faced with new requirements for costly ballot measures.

The City of Millbrae contends San Mateo County’s planned $33 million purchase and conversion of the 100-room hotel to a “supportive housing” project would cost the city half a million dollars per year in occupancy taxes alone, with additional lost sales tax, property tax and other losses leading to another half a million dollars lost for the city each year. Under Project Homekey, supported by federal COVID-era funds and state general funds, more than 15,000 hotel rooms have been converted to supportive housing units focused on serving homeless individuals at an approximate public cost of $200,000 per unit in state-directed funds, excluding funding from other sources.

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