City’s Safe Sleep Site Now Scheduled to Open in June, Project Homekey to Open in July

The Culver City Council meeting of May 8, 2023, heard an update on the official status of the homeless emergency for Culver City, with Housing Director Tevis Barnes offering more information on the construction of both the ‘safe sleep site’ and the Project Homekey hotels. The site is several weeks behind schedule with the original date for opening having been April, and has now been projected to June; the hotels are many months behind schedule, having been planned to open last November and are now posted to open in July. 

The ‘Safe Sleep’ site is being created in the city owned parking lot off Virginia Avenue, a block back from the intersection of Jefferson and Overland. Originally put forward by the council in 2021, this was one of several site proposed as a location where unhoused people could be supported and assisted. There will be 40 spaces available, with support on-site from nutrition to mental and physical health care. The fence and privacy screening is up, and platforms for the shelters are being installed. As presented by Public Works Director Yanni Demitri, the construction is in process and is expected to be completed by June. 

The Project Homekey hotels have been held up by a long series of delays, and everything from supply chain issues to the record-breaking rainfall has been cited as an obstacle to the completion of the projects. Currently the transitional housing at 3868 Sepulveda Blvd. and the permanent supportive housing at 3900 Sepulveda Blvd. are looking to open doors in July. 

The Mobile Crisis Unit, which has been in the city budget since 2021 and is still not operational, was reported on for staff by Myrna Johnson, the project manager for the city. She noted that three positions are currently posted for hiring; mental health clinician, mental health specialist, and case manager. The city will be accepting applications until May 18, 2023.  

While declaring an emergency was a part of the city’s decision to make it illegal to sleep in a tent, the conflict between prohibiting public camping and actually having the services and support that would prevent people from needing to do so is behind schedule in every aspect. 

Judith Martin-Straw

Photo – Main gate and privacy fencing at Safe Sleep Site

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