Pacific Grove residents to be briefed on homeless housing program – Monterey Herald

PACIFIC GROVE >> Pacific Grove residents on Monday will have a chance to hear about an effort the city is making to establish housing for the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless in the community.

Anastacia Wyatt, Pacific Grove’s senior housing program manager, is coordinating public outreach to explain the effort, called the Project Homekey Program, and to solicit residents’ views and concerns during a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Pacific Grove Community Center.

Homekey is a state-funded program that takes motels and hotels and refurbishes them into residential housing units for the homeless. Wyatt oversaw successful implementation of the program in Salinas when she was Monterey County’s housing program manager.

In that case, the Good Nite Inn was a collaborative effort among the city of Salinas, Monterey County, the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers, Shangri-La Industries and Step Up on Second Street Inc. It opened in December and will house more than 100 homeless people when fully occupied.

In Pacific Grove, the project is in a conceptual phase and no specific locations have been identified, said Pacific Grove Mayor Bill Peake on Wednesday. If the project moves forward and a site is chosen, the city will coordinate with Shangri-La to refurbish rooms into living quarters with kitchenettes, and Step Up would provide various social services. Shangri-La will own the building once the funding is allocated.

An uncompleted survey of homeless in Pacific Grove identified 17 individuals, most of whom were sleeping in their cars, Peake said. Housing advocates such as Monterey County Renters United have warned that with rents far outstripping income more and more people are in danger of becoming homeless.

“Our community has a decades-long history of welcoming residents in need,” Peake said in a report to the council. “The addition of a Homekey project to help those experiencing homelessness, including youth and those with disabilities, is in keeping with this tradition of helping others.”

The City Council has authorized an application to the California Department of Housing for an allocation of roughly $15 million for the project once a site is identified, and with potential bonuses awarded by the state, that amount could climb to over $16 million. At one point the Monarch Resort in the hotel district of Pacific Grove was identified but that deal fell through when the owners and Shangri-La had a falling out.

On paper, the state will pay 100% of the cost, but the city could incur some smaller costs and would lose property tax and hotel tax revenue from whatever site is chosen.

The project would target extremely low-income residents earning 30% or less of the median area income, which translates to $17,130 for an individual and $24,480 for a family of four. The project is permanent housing and would remain affordable for 55 years.

Affordable housing, in general, is a major issue for Pacific Grove, Wyatt said. The state target for Pacific Grove is to build 28 very-low-income affordable units between the years 2015-2023. So far, the city has built just one.

“Although the bi-annual homeless count was postponed in 2021, homelessness in the city of Pacific Grove has likely increased because of the continued insufficient shelter and housing resources, coupled with the overall impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on income and employment,” Wyatt wrote in a February description of the project.

A full question-and-answer document is available on the city website at

Tenants would need to pay rent based on earning 30% of the area’s median income. They could be working full-time or part-time, on social security or disability income. They could also be receiving general assistance or veterans’ benefits.

All the tenants would receive supportive services designed to reintegrate them back into the community at no cost. These services will be focused on improving their independent living skills, such as education and obtaining employment and will be tailored to the individual’s needs.

“The goal is to avoid a revolving door where they return to homelessness,” Wyatt wrote.