$12.3 million homeless motel program approved on 3-1-1 vote by Antioch City Council

The Executive Inn on E. 18th Street will be used for a transitional housing program for the city’s homeless residents. Herald file photo.

Will also look at other city- and privately-owned properties as part of Request for Proposal; forms Human Rights and Racial Equity Ad Hoc Committee; agrees to form new city department

By Allen D. Payton

Following another round of public input and council discussion, during their meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the Antioch City Council, on a 3-1-1 vote approved spending $12.3 million to lease the Executive Inn on E. 18th Street for transitional housing for homeless residents. with Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica voted no and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who had been opposed to the project at that location, was absent. The program is projected to cost $12.3 million over five years for the 30-room motel with a portion of funding will hopefully come from the state’s HomeKey program.

After postponing the decision for more information from city staff, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker gave her support to the project. (See related article)

“I have been clear, very transparent around this project,” she said. “Just when it costs taxpayers money. It costs us less to do preventative care. It costs us more to put people in jails and prisons than to give people opportunity with resources. We’re irresponsible with taxpayers’ dollars when we don’t get unhoused folks off the street…with no resources.”

“I want to see other opportunities, as well,” Torres-Walker continued. “I don’t think anybody’s stalling. I think there were other questions that needed to be answered and we got those answers.  Look at the cost of not doing anything. I hope we can do both, today. Move forward with this and look at other options.”

“It’s absolutely ridiculous…to make an issue of making an investment of $12 million over five years to house people, to move people through those rooms to permanent housing,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “We’ve housed people at the executive Inn then transferred them to the Delta Landing in Pittsburg.”

“We’re literally wasting taxpayer money, right now moving people from corner to corner cleaning up encampments,” he continued. “Literally, the Abatement Team, today was formed to clean up encampments.”

“The $12 million is if we pay for this, ourselves and don’t pursue HomeKey,” Thorpe stated. “I’m tired of people trying to hold up…the executive Inn. We need to get this done, today.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson moved approval that the City of Antioch authorizes, 1. Pursuit of State of California’s HomeKey Program Funding; 2. City commitment of an initial five-year pledge of local resources that amount to a subsidy of $12.3M dollars in local funds; and 3. Staff initiation of a formal solicitation of a developer partner for the subject property located at 515 East 18th Street. Torres-Walker seconded the motion. It passed on a 3-1-1 vote.

During the following agenda ll four council members present were in support of pursuing other opportunities and properties for transitional housing for the city’s homeless residents

“I think we need to be very specific,” Thorpe said. “I would encourage council to be very specific about what properties council is talking about.”

“The Delta Fair site,” Torres-Walker said. “I don’t know of other sites. That is as specific as I can get.”

“I just didn’t want to give vague instructions to staff because we own a lot of property,” Thorpe stated.

Assistant City Manager Rosann Bayon Moore suggested including privately owned parcels…“with the intent of maximizing the quality and intent of the partner we bring to the city.”

“I’m open to looking at other options and talking with the Delta Veterans Group about helping veterans,” Barbanica said.

Wilson was also in support of pursuing other properties in general.

“General it is,” Thorpe stated.

Forms Human Rights and Racial Equity Ad Hoc Committee 

On a 4-0-1 vote with Ogorchock absent, the council approved the formation of an Human Rights and Racial Equity Ad Hoc Committee for six months and appoint Thorpe and Torres-Walker as the members.

Agrees to Form New City Department

On a 3-1-1 vote, with Barbanica voting no and Ogorchock, absent the council gave direction to City Attorney Thomas L. Smith to return with an ordinance forming a new Public Safety and Community Resources Department, as previously discussed. (See related articles here and here)

 

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