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OC Supervisors to Apply for State Funding to Turn Costa Mesa Motel Into Homeless Shelter

OC Supervisors to Apply for State Funding to Turn Costa Mesa Motel Into Homeless Shelter

The Travelodge Motel in Costa Mesa, Calif., in January 2023. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

City News Service

City News Service

7/19/2023

Updated: 7/19/2023

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved plans on July 18 to apply for a state Project Homekey grant to acquire a motel in Costa Mesa to refurbish it and provide low-cost housing and shelter.
The county wants to acquire and rehabilitate the 120-room Travelodge at 1400 Bristol St. with a $6,781,520 loan.
Supervisor Doug Chaffee said he “strongly supports” the Homekey Program, but added he was concerned about the debt servicing of the project.
“At some point the amount of debt owed will exceed the value of the project, probably by a multiple of times and the reality is when it comes time to pay it some of it may have to be written off or may be a gift and not collectible,” Mr. Chaffee said.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 18, 2023. (Orange County Board of Supervisors/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 18, 2023. (Orange County Board of Supervisors/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Supervisor Katrina Foley, who made the proposal, said she agreed with Mr. Chaffee on that issue.
“I am concerned about the cost as well,” she said.
But she added, “We do have a revenue source because of a restaurant and a Tesla charging station on site.”
Ms. Foley said she was hopeful that the contract will be structured so the county and its partners on the project, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, “will have a share of that revenue that can pay toward the debt service.”
Ms. Foley said she also wanted county officials to push for vouchers for veterans in the project. Officials said they have reached out to the Veterans Administration to approve the vouchers.
Ms. Foley said she preferred razing the motel and building new housing in its place, but developers said that would take longer than the required year for the project to be done.
Officials said they believe it would cost more to demolish and rebuild the housing, but Ms. Foley said she believes it may be the other way around and it would allow for a better design.
Ms. Foley asked county officials to lobby for more time for Project Homekey developments.
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