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174 units of hope help Pittsburg homeless transition toward permanent housing

More than a year after purchasing a former Motel 6 on Loveridge Road, Contra Costa County will reopen Delta Landing, a 174-unit interim housing complex intended to help hundreds of local homeless residents transition into permanent housing.

The facility will serve more than 200 residents once it reopens in three to four weeks, according to county officials.

Delta Landing has been closed since June for renovations, including new paint, roofing, room furnishings and fire sprinkler systems and aesthetic improvements like a manicured courtyard.

Contra Costa County Deputy Director of Health Services Lavonna Martin said during a briefing to commemorate Delta Landing’s upcoming reopening:

We are going to ensure that we continue to serve as many individuals in the eastern region of our county as possible through this … resource.”

The county had leased the former motel for much of 2020 as temporary shelter for homeless residents who were at high risk of contracting Covid-19 or becoming seriously ill.

The county has received funding support to operate the motel as a temporary shelter from the state’s Project Roomkey, a federally backed initiative to procure thousands of unused hotel and motel rooms for the state’s homeless residents during the pandemic.

The state ultimately transitioned that program into Project Homekey, a $6.6 billion initiative that issues grants to local jurisdictions, enabling them to purchase those hotels and motels and convert them into transitional and permanent housing.

Jason Elliott, a senior counselor to Gov. Gavin Newsom, said Monday:

(Homekey) will create 41,500 units and beds. … And that only works if local governments implement successfully. We can only build on success.”

Contra Costa County received a $21.5 million grant to purchase the motel, doing so in November 2020 at a price of about $17.5 million.

The remaining funds, totaling more than $4 million, will be used to staff and operate Delta Landing for “the next couple of years,” Martin said.

Local officials noted that roughly one-third of the county’s roughly 2,300 homeless residents lives in eastern Contra Costa County, according to the county’s most recent census of homeless residents in January 2020.

In addition, the large swath of the county east of Concord had just 20 available shelter beds before the county began the process of converting Delta Landing.

The city of Antioch has called for 15 of the units to be dedicated specifically to homeless residents that live along its downtown Amtrak tracks after Louie Rocha, a homeless man and lifelong Antioch resident, was killed by a train last month while trying to cross the tracks.

The Antioch City Council is expected to vote on allocating $300,000 to reserve the rooms at its meeting Dec. 14.

The roughly 225 residents living at Delta Landing prior to its temporary closure will be invited to return once it reopens, Martin said, after being briefly moved to interim housing in central Contra Costa County. In that time, some have also found permanent housing.

While the county had attempted to complete the necessary repairs and renovations with residents still housed on-site, officials determined it would be more efficient to close the complex temporarily.

In addition to rooms for single adults, Martin said Delta Landing will include units for couples, multi-generational adult families, people with pets and people with disabilities.

Going forward, open units and beds at the facility will be filled via the county’s homeless outreach teams.

Residents will then stay at Delta Landing for roughly 90 days, during which time they will work with the nonprofit Bay Area Community Services – which will manage the complex day-to-day – to find permanent housing and employment.

Martin said:

Interim housing is just one intervention. … We need to continue to build permanent housing out there. We need to make sure that people can go right from the streets into permanent housing if that’s what they need.”

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