• April 7, 2023

Homekey Motel 6 to Become 97 Homes

Homekey Motel 6 to Become 97 Homes

Homekey Motel 6 to Become 97 Homes 150 150 CVillacorte

One of Los Angeles County’s original Homekey sites in unincorporated Whittier is about to become home to nearly 100 people experiencing homelessness.

The County acquired the former Motel 6 during the worst of the pandemic to temporarily shelter medically fragile and/or elderly people living on the streets. In partnership with Holos Communities (formerly Clifford Beers), it is converting the property into 97 studio apartments, plus a manager’s unit, and renaming it Laurel Grove.

“Motel conversions are one of our most effective tools in our response to the homelessness crisis,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “They are quick and cost effective and I am proud that I have more Project Homekey motel conversion sites in my district than any other Supervisorial district in LA County.”

“Laurel Grove is the first of the County’s Homekey properties to begin the conversion process from interim to permanent supportive housing,” LA County Homeless Initiative Director Cheri Todoroff said. “Because we’re repurposing a motel, rather than building from scratch, construction will be completed for roughly half the cost of typical affordable housing developments, and in about one-third of the time.”

Laurel Grove will feature several sustainability features for both its tenants and the surrounding community. This includes a pocket park and a “living lung” – an extensive landscape of carefully selected trees and plants designed to reduce air, noise, and light pollution from the nearby 605 freeway. Both the pocket park and living lung will be irrigated with recycled greywater from the building’s sinks and laundry. As a rehab project, Laurel Grove recycles the entire building, avoiding the carbon emissions associated with tearing down a building and pouring new concrete.

“Each building that we develop has the power to clean the air, preserve and recycle water, provide open space, address food insecurity, increase wildfire resilience and provide opportunities for economic mobility,” Holos Communities Executive Director Cristian Ahumada said. “This is the future we’re working to build.”

Laurel Grove’s funding is composed of $12.7 million in Homekey Round I funding from the California Departments of Housing & Community Development and Business, Consumer Services and Housing for the original purchase and operations of the interim housing site. It also received $20 million from the County of Los Angeles for the permanent housing renovations.

LA County began using the property as interim housing in 2020 under Project Roomkey, then acquired it in November 2020 with Homekey funds and continued to operate it as interim housing through February 2023. The renovation is expected to last 18 months, through early summer 2024.

“I am grateful for the support we have gotten from local residents here in West Whittier and I appreciate the care that Holos Communities has taken to make this project an asset to the neighborhood,” Supervisor Hahn said. “I am looking forward to being back here next summer when there aren’t just motel rooms here but homes for 97 people who need them,” Supervisor Hahn said.


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