“When a city of 40,000 is serving as a model for the entire county; that’s amazing. I love the innovation that is happening in Culver City.”
When State Assembly Leader Isaac Bryan took the podium at the grand opening for the Project Homekey Hotels, he offered some sincere praise. “When we look at the struggles of the most vulnerable, who are living on the streets, [and say] that’s not their problem, it’s our problem…that is what makes a difference. “
A year after groundbreaking, the Project Homekey Hotels on Sepulveda celebrated a ‘grand opening’ with an official ribbon cutting and speeches. The two repurposed hotels located at 3868 and 3900 Sepulveda Blvd. have benefitted from state, county and municipal funding, and will offer 73 units of stable housing with both permanent supportive housing and interim housing at the sites.
Tevis Barnes, the city’s Director of Housing and Human Services, opened the program, introducing Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. with his remarks on the occasion. “By revitalizing these two properties, we are helping to bring dozens of unhoused neighbors off the streets.” Vera also made a point of reading a long list of names, thanking all the city staff, project partners and contractors who had helped to bring the vision into reality. “It’s not enough to say thanks to everyone; we’d like to thank you each individually.”
Council members Freddy Puza and Goran Eriksson also spoke, supporting the city’s commitment to offer support, services and safety within the newly launched program.
The site will be managed by Exodus Recovery, Inc., and Program Director Jaclyn Arlo spoke, in addition to Associate Vice President Vanessa Schneider, about the success that Exodus Recovery has had and continues to have at sites throughout Southern California.
While Congress woman Sydney Kamlager was not present, the representative from her office, Jonathan Echavarria, offered her congratulations on the opening, and noted that Kamlager had been supportive of the project when it was in it’s most primary stage, securing money from the state that was crucial to getting the Homekey Hotels started.
Finally, Barnes introduced Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, playfully reminding her that they went to the same high school, which brought out smiles all around. Mitchell made a gesture of all the electeds patting themselves on the back, but quickly brought it around to the reality of how many different government agencies were essential to this success.”This partnership with every level of government with all of us focused on the same goal…I’m proud to represent a city – who gets it. We love to come to ribbon cuttings, see all this exciting infrastructure, but what is critical is the services [provided] to keep them housed, that’s why I ran for this job in the first place …those critical safety net services being there when they need them the most.”
Mitchell reached out to address the new residents with real warmth and kindness, stating “At many times, we have all faced obstacles and barriers, often through no fault of our own. Each of your stories are unique. Sometimes, there are trust issues … government often gets a bad rap. But this is a living example of what government does, this is what government looks like when it is working on behalf of the residents we take an oath to serve. Our collective hope and dream for you is that you are successful in this transition to recover from the harms you have experienced…I look forward to many years of seeing his beautiful site thrive and prosper.”
The County of Los Angeles has already committed to $1.7 million over the next three years to continue supporting the sites.