The City of Palm Springs unanimously approved using $3 million of a state grant to turn an existing hotel or motel in the city into permanent housing with support services for people who are homeless. The project proposed would be in collaboration with the county.
“With the money we got we could never have done a project of this scale so to be able to do it in partnership with the county and take advantage of the federal cares act dollars is a potentially once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors adding he’s been fighting for a project like this for a long time.
The properties being considered are the Travel Lodge on South Palm Canyon, the Quality Inn in Downtown Palm Springs and the Ivy Palm Resort in North Palm Springs. The county will negotiate the purchase and manage the property.
“They believe the Ivy Palm is the best choice,” says Kors explaining it’s because of costs and condition of the property.
The city emphasizes this is not a homeless shelter where people would be coming and going but housing that will get people off the streets permanently with support services.
“There will also be a restaurant that will become a place for job training so people get trained in all the different categories of working in a restaurant … so this is really a game changer for so many people to provide them with that kind of housing,” says Kors.
Christopher Rosas, managing member of Infusion Beach Club, the hotel right next door to the Ivy Palm says he and other business owners feel this project is being rushed through without consulting anyone affected, “Absolutely blindsided, or railroaded or however you want to look at it.”
He says he’s actually in favor a project of this type but the way they are going about it is wrong and a simple phone call takes minutes.
“This is the first we’re finding out about it, there’s no plan, there’s no forethought, there’s nothing to look at to show us how they’re going to operate this,” says Rosas.
Rosas say he proposed a homeless housing project to Kors and was told he had to get the community’s support first, yet he isn’t doing what he’s preaching.
Kors says if they don’t move quickly they could lose the funding and miss the opportunity to house those most in need, “If we’re not committed to addressing that I don’t know who we are as a city.”
The application for the funding is due on the August, 13, 2020. Kors says the goal is to start having people live there by the end of the year because if they are approved and the money is not spent they will lose the grant.