At their July city council meeting, Costa Mesa approved a $40M homeless shelter without all councilmembers fully knowing the total cost of the project. Despite the fact that homeless individuals are eligible to live in it, the project is being called “supportive housing” instead of a homeless shelter.
The Costa Mesa City Council has officially approved the Motel 6 at 2274 Newport Blvd be converted into “permanent affordable housing.” Though this project shares most key characteristics with what people would consider a homeless shelter, the city attempts to claim otherwise.
According to the Costa Mesa website, individuals eligible to live in this government housing include people “earning 30% or less than the Area Median Income, homeless veterans, and homeless individuals who meet the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) eligibility criteria.”
At the July meeting, Mayor John Stephens, along with Councilmembers Andrea Marr and Arlis Reynolds voted to approve the $40,000,000 project to create 88 one-room housing units for eligible individuals.
Each tiny 300 square foot unit will cost a whopping $454,545 and Costa Mesa will give $5,000,000 with non-city sources contributing the remainder of the funding. Video recording of the meeting showed that most councilmembers were not aware of the constant operating costs for the “supportive housing” units as well as the total cost for the project.
As real estate and rent prices continue to rise, cities are seeking new ways to address housing concerns. With this new project, Costa Mesa appears to be joining other cities nationwide to try to build housing for the homeless as an effort to solve the root cause. However, many critics of providing housing first believe that these projects do not solve the homelessness crisis at its core.
Are “temporary” and “affordable” housing units and properties dedicated to homeless populations the right, long term solution to the growing cost-of-living in California, or will they worsen the chronic homelessness problem?