To the backdrop of active construction, officials convened at The Crestview Hotel on Wednesday to celebrate the start of year-long renovations that will convert the former hotel into permanent affordable and supportive housing.
The project, located at 901 East El Camino Real in Mountain View, adds to the growing list of homeless services and supportive housing created under a partnership between Santa Clara County and the city of Mountain View. Crestview will include on-site services for those who are formerly homeless.
The developer, Jamboree Housing Corporation, plans to convert the 67 room, three-story hotel into a 49-unit permanent supportive housing community that will serve local youth aging out of the foster care system and both individuals and small families experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
Under the plan, the ground floor will offer community spaces, offices and other resources for residents that includes access to professionals with training in case management services and life skills education. The two floors above are dedicated to studio, one- and two-bedroom units that will have small kitchen, bathroom and living areas
“These partnerships do not happen without political will,” said Laura Archuleta, president and CEO of Jamboree, referring to the collaborative efforts of the city, county and state in bringing the project to fruition.
The catalyst for the project stems from a relatively recent state initiative, the Homekey program, which aims to convert older properties into supportive housing for the homeless. Homekey awarded nearly $3 billion to 210 projects in its first two rounds of funding, said Tim Lawless, branch chief of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
“It’s really all part of the administration’s ground effort to build more housing (and) build it faster,” he said, adding that the city and county have worked in lockstep to finance Crestview.
While Homekey provided $16.7 million to the project, the county nearly matched this with $14.8 million from several funding sources, including the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond; the city of Mountain View contributed about $9 million to the project.
The Crestview redevelopment is part of a larger plan to bring more affordable housing to the region. The 2016 Affordable Housing Bond is supporting 50 developments, including Crestview, according to Consuelo Hernandez, director of the county’s Office of Supportive Housing.
Hernandez highlighted the deep affordability of the Crestview project, where every unit is tied to a Section 8 rental subsidy and slated for individuals and families who earn up to 30% of the area median income. “That’s a tremendous amount of assistance for families that are going to be living here,” she said.
The road to the redevelopment was not easy though, with several speakers addressing the challenges of securing the funding and getting the community on board with the project. “There was a little bit of a kerfuffle, a little bit of a brouhaha, a little bit of pushback when the project was under consideration,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, referring to community concerns about bringing housing insecure tenants into the neighborhood.
The pushback prompted Simitian to share early childhood memories of his upbringing in an eight-story, 200-unit government housing project, drawing parallels to the opportunities that the Crestview project will provide for future tenants.
“I remember my mother talking about what a lifeline that place was, at that particular time in our lives because she was a recently divorced single mom, trying to figure out how to make it for herself and her family, which was me,” he said. “And the answer is that that opportunity, that place, that space, however briefly, allowed her to pull her life together to figure out the next steps.”
Mountain View Mayor Alison Hicks reiterated the city’s commitment to creating an equitable and inclusive community, which goes hand-in-hand with addressing the region’s housing crisis, she said. The Crestview development is one of nine affordable housing developments that is going up in Mountain View, according to the city’s press release.
An interior tour of the building showed construction in the demolition stage. “We have encountered very few surprises,” said Mark Avila, project manager from Echelcon, Inc, a construction company based in San Jose. Expected completion of the project is summer 2024, according to Archuleta.