Homekey Hotels Get Closer to Opening; Update on Culver City’s Emergency Declaration on Homelessness

After the City of Los Angeles declared an emergency on homelessness, Culver City followed suit, putting the crisis at the top of every City Council Agenda for the time being. 

The staff report at the Feb. 28, 2023 meeting was delivered by Housing Director Tevis Barnes, and gave some facts and statistics to positive progress, in addition to some newly considered terminology.  

The long term solutions that began to take shape in 2021 are getting closer to completion. According to the staff report, the Project Homekey hotels are at  “87% completion for  Sunburst and  78 % completion for Deano’s. The buildings have needed asbestos and termite abatement, and the electrical is now 90% complete.” The kitchenettes are close to completion, but there is still no definitive date available for residence. 

Language came up as an issue in regard to the site at Virginia Ave. which will now be referred to as a “Safe Sleep.”  Barnes noted that “we were informed that the term ‘safe camping’ is not appropriate.” 

She also reported that “in 30 days or less we will be coming back to the council with a lead for a service provider.” 

Public Works Director Yanni Demtri  took over for the report on building a safe site for our unhoused neighbors. “The fence is already up, and we are in the process of installing lighting and purchasing a generator.” He felt the site would be available soon. 

The Mobile Crisis team is  looking to hire a director in the next 30 days, “that will help us connect with people in need of our support services.”

Staff acknowledged that the brutal winter weather was keeping the situation at high alert, and that they had been able to house two individuals who had been reported to the city.

When several attendees at the meeting told of being unable to get through on the 211 helpline, Barnes acknowledged that it was a problem. “The County 211 line was ‘overwhelmed. That’s not us, the the County, and we have no control over that. We put together our local resources, we have our homeless hotline, so please call us first, don’t call 211.” 

The city acknowledged that the lack of any public shelter on the Westside has been a problem for the last five years. 

Judith Martin-Straw


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