VALLEJO – The Vallejo City Council is expected to approve sending a letter to Solano County officials seeking $11.6 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to fund the construction of a homeless navigation center and a controversial supportive housing project.
The letter requests $7.6 million for a 125-bed navigation center and $4 million for a 48-unit supportive housing project along Broadway Street in North Vallejo. The council will consider whether to send the letter on Tuesday.
“The Vallejo City Council strongly urges the Board of Supervisors to review Vallejo’s request and consider funding these projects,” the letter reads. “So that we can bring both well needed projects online in Solano County.”
The proposed navigation center shelter has been a priority for the council since 2018 but the project has been met with various issues including a swollen budget and concerns about where to place it. The city has said it would be a “one stop shop” to provide beds, individual case management to connect individuals to social and medical services, job training, and securing permanent housing.
From the $7.6 million ARPA request for the center, $2 million would go toward construction and $5 million would be used for two years of operations. Three Solano-area hospitals – Sutter, Kaiser, and NorthBay Medical Center – have also pledged a combined $6.2 million for the center’s operations over three years.
City officials said in May 2021 that the project had an $8 million budget shortfall. That figure was later revised to $2.3 million during a November 2021 housing commission meeting.
Besides the budget issues, the city spent most of the year searching for a location to place the navigation center. Earlier this month, the council approved the $950,000 purchase of 1937 Broadway St. to build the navigation center, almost a year after the city revealed that the property it intended to use was contaminated and unfit for human habitation, prompting the search for a new location.
Senior city staff revealed this month that the project still has a $1.7 million budget shortfall.
The city also plans to allocate $4 million for a proposed supportive housing project to be built on a parcel near the border of Vallejo and American Canyon. The project includes 47 studio apartments, each about 305 square feet, with the 48th unit occupied by an onsite manager.
Vallejo was already awarded $12 million from the state Project HomeKey program for the project and has allocated an additional $2 million from other sources. City officials estimate that the project will cost a total of $22 million and have not said how they will make up the remaining $4 million.
It’s not the only obstacle facing the project. Two American Canyon residents filed a lawsuit in August to block the project over concerns that it would “result in serious health, safety, and other issues including a drastic and adverse effect on surrounding residents’ existing quality of life.”
About $3 million of the requested ARPA funds would be used for construction and the remaining $1 million would be used for one-time furnishings, two years of operations and lease-up support,” according to the letter.
The Vallejo City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., Tuesday inside the Vallejo City Hall Council Chambers at 555 Santa Clara St.
Members of the public will be able to participate in-person or remotely via Zoom.
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John Glidden is a journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan has written for the Vallejo Times-Herald, Fairfield Daily Republic, the Appeal, and Solano Tempest.
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