ANAHEIM, Calif. — Anaheim and an affordable housing developer are teaming up and planning to convert a former motel into housing for people who are homeless.

At a recent city council meeting, the council approved Linc Housing Corp. and nonprofit American Family Housing's $25 million plan to buy and transform the 119-unit Studio 6 Motel at 1251 N. Harbor Blvd. into housing for people facing homelessness and provide supportive services.

What You Need To Know

  • Anaheim and Long Beach-based Linc Housing, in partnership with American Family Housing, are applying for Project Homekey funds to convert a former motel into housing for people who are homeless

  • Under the terms of the deal, if approved, Linc will buy and convert the Studio 6 motel on Harbor Boulevard into housing for 89 homeless or chronically homeless individuals

  • Project Homekey is a state program, created in June 2020, that awards municipalities and other local entities with grant funds to convert buildings into homeless housing

  • Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom awarded $45 million for Homekey projects in Los Angeles and Sacramento

“Anaheim has long been a leader in addressing homelessness, and this project continues those efforts,” said Lauren Gold, an Anaheim spokeswoman. “We know that emergency shelters and interim housing are only a temporary fix. That’s why we’re focused on adding housing to our city with innovative projects like this one. Affordable and supportive housing is our long-term solution to getting those who are struggling on a lasting pathway out of homelessness.”

The city, Linc and American Family Housing will now apply for grant funds from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s Project Homekey to fund the project.

Project Homekey, launched in June 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, is a state program that awards municipalities grants to buy and convert hotels, apartments, single-family homes and other building types into interim or permanent and supportive housing to house people who are homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently awarded $45 million for Homekey projects in Los Angeles and Sacramento. 

According to state officials, California has awarded $323 million for 1,208 units across 14 projects statewide as part of the Homekey program.

Under Linc’s two-prong plan, the developer plans to rehabilitate 89 units, including two manager units, and use the former Studio 6 motel as interim housing for the first couple of years.

According to city staff, all units will support homeless and at-risk homeless individuals, with 27 units dedicated to serving chronically homeless individuals.

Linc will develop the building. Meanwhile, nonprofit American Family Housing will support residents, including case management, career help, and medical and mental health care. 

In the second phase of the development, Linc will rehabilitate other parts of the 1.4-acre property and create outdoor gathering spaces, public art and other improvements to the property.

The bulk of the $25 million funding would come from Project Homekey, with the city pitching in $2.8 million. The Orange County Health Care Agency is also contributing $3.9 million.

The Studio 6 conversion project would be Anaheim’s first Project Homekey development. While this could be the city’s first Homekey project, Anaheim has a motel conversion program similar to the state’s Homekey program.

The city’s program — passed in 2019 — streamlines the approval process for a housing developer to convert a motel into affordable housing.

Last year, under Anaheim’s Motel Conversion Program, Jamboree Housing opened Buena Esperanza, a 70-unit conversion of a former Econo Lodge motel.