Mountain View turns hotel into permanent housing

Mountain View turns hotel into permanent housing
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and Jamboree Housing CEO Laura Archuleta tour the Crestview Hotel in Mountain View, which will be converted to affordable housing. Photo courtesy of PRxDigital.

A converted hotel is creating a home and hope for unhoused foster youth transitioning out of the system, families and individuals.

Unlike other hotels that have been redeveloped as short-term supportive housing, the Crestview Hotel in Mountain View will provide permanent, supportive affordable housing to youth aging out of foster care and small families experiencing homelessness when it opens next summer.

The conversion is a collaboration between Jamboree Housing, Mountain View and the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing. The Santa Clara County Housing Authority is providing 48 Section 8 vouchers—federal housing assistance to residents who pay a portion of their rent based on 30% of their income.

The hotel project located on busy El Camino Road received $16.7 million in funding from Project Homekey and $14.8 million in county funding from No Place Like Home, Measure A and American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Mountain View contributed $9.05 million in Community Development Block Grant funding.

Crestview Hotel is being converted to housing for unhoused foster youth aging out of the system, individuals and families. Photo courtesy of PRxDigital.

Laura Archuleta, CEO of Jamboree Housing, said permanent, supportive housing is the true solution to homelessness.

“There is only so much subsidy and money to go around,†she told San José Spotlight, “and if you’re putting your money into temporary housing, you’re then building a backlog of folks who have no place to go.â€

Archuleta said Jamboree has a history of reuniting children with parents coming out of homelessness by providing affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments. With this development, foster age youth will be part of the program. 

“If these kids don’t have any support when they come out, they’re going to struggle being able to live their fullest lives,†she said, “and contribute the most they can to society.â€

There are 9,903 homeless people in Santa Clara County, according to a count conducted earlier this year. Of these, 75% are unsheltered.

To help people get back on their feet, the Crestview Hotel will provide case management and wrap around services addressing addiction, medication for mental illness, job searching and transportation. Archuleta said this kind of housing changes and saves lives. She said when new residents speak about what it means to them, Archuleta sees the impact of the work.

“It is tremendously overwhelming,†she said, “to know how many lives are going to be changed. It is why I’ve done this work for over 30 years.â€

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said the more tailored the wrap around services are to each resident, the more they’ll be able to help them from slipping back into homelessness

“If (the residents) know they have a safe and secure place to put their head down every night,†he told San José Spotlight, “if they know they can access the services they need … that allows folks to focus on getting themselves to that next, better place in their lives.†

Simitian appreciates that Crestview offers safe, supportive and affordable housing. He said the lack of affordable housing is particularly acute in Santa Clara County.

“You can’t move folks out of interim housing into permanent housing if the permanent housing doesn’t exist,†he said. “There just hasn’t been anything approaching an adequate supply of affordable housing for folks to move up and into.â€

Housing projects like this are personal for Simitian. As a child, he and his mother lived in a government housing project in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“She was divorced … and trying to sort out her life, our life as a family,†he said. “When people talk about ‘these people,’ I feel like they’re talking about my mom and me. I know she was a good mother… and I think I turned out ok. That was made possible by the fact there was a place for us to stabilize and then move on to have a very good middle-class life.â€

Mountain View Mayor Alison Hicks said the city prefers to develop permanent, affordable housing like Crestview. She said affordable housing allows people to continue to live in the area as it develops economically.

“We want to remain or grow as a diverse city that has all different kinds of people living here … with a variety of occupations,†she said. “We need those people in our community.â€

Original by Lorraine Gabbert for San Jose Spotlight