San Francisco’s building buying spree has been granted millions more dollars from the state to set up permanent housing for homeless young adults and families.
Mayor London Breed’s office said Wednesday that it’s receiving $73.4 million in new funding from Project Homekey, a statewide program that gives out grants for counties to purchase housing for people living on the streets or in other marginal circumstances. The new award will support the city’s acquisition of two properties totaling 250 units, including one apartment complex for families.
Those properties, City Gardens at 333 12th St. and Mission Inn at 5630 Mission St., are two of eight acquisitions the city has made since the pandemic with a combination of local, state and federal dollars.
A Google Street View of Mission Inn at 5630 Mission Street in San Francisco.
The 52-room Mission Inn, formerly a motel, will serve as housing for transitional-age youth, or young people between the ages of 18 and 24. Dolores Street Community Services will operate the housing, and Larkin Street Youth Services will provide on- site social services.
City Gardens, formerly owned by the developer Panoramic Interests, is a 200-unit apartment complex in SoMa intended to house homeless families, which Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing spokesperson Emily Cohen called a “game-changer” for families who may be staying in shelters or packed into small SROs.
“We had been struggling, frankly, to find a property to accommodate families with children,” said Cohen. “When we found City Gardens, it was a natural good fit.”
The city’s ongoing acquisitions are part of a broader statewide effort to house California’s growing homeless population in underused hotels, motels and apartment buildings. Since first launching Project Roomkey, which funded temporary lodgings during the Covid pandemic, the state has rolled that effort into the more permanent Project Homekey and awarded $3.5 billion in grants so far.
The city began soliciting applications from building owners looking to offload their buildings in 2020 and has sought to find places fit for permanent supportive housing, or low-cost housing that wraps in on-site social services. The city has not yet identified a property manager and social service provider for the City Gardens site.
The new $73.4 million grant will offset the costs of the latest two buildings and free up funds to buy more property, part of an effort by Breed to buy or lease at least 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing.
Since launching that initiative in July 2020, the city has added 2,918 units, which includes property purchases and rental vouchers, to the city’s supportive housing portfolio.