State awards $19 million to help build out homeless navigation center that will serve valley

The announcement Wednesday was the latest move forward for the project. In June, Palm Springs leaders voted to approve an agreement with a Los Angeles-based firm to provide architectural and design services.
A homeless services center that would serve the Coachella Valley is being planned on property the city of Palm Springs purchased earlier this year.

A seven-month wait to see if the State of California would help construct a homeless services center in northern Palm Springs ended Wednesday afternoon with the announcement that a $19 million allocation from the Homekey Round 2 program was secured.

Driving the news: In January, Palm Springs and Riverside County jointly applied to the state to request funding for the construction of a ‘navigation center’ on a 3.6-acre site with existing buildings off McCarthy Road that the city purchased for roughly $6 million. Part of the $19 million will reimburse the city for the acquisition.

  • News of the state funding was made in a joint press release Monday from the city and Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.

  • As envisioned, the navigation center will provide transitional housing, as well as job training, medical care, and other services for the unhoused members of the Coachella Valley community.

  • Additionally, the funding provides operational dollars for Martha’s Village & Kitchen, an Indio-based operation which the city has selected to operator the facility.

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What they’re saying: “I am proud of this successful award of state funding, an effort that was led out of my office and an example of the collaborative work the county and City of Palm Springs have been working on for five years to bring holistic help for our unhoused residents.” — Supervisor Perez

Looking back: The announcement Wednesday was the latest move forward for the project, which is expected to open in 2023. In June, city leaders voted to approve an agreement with a Los Angeles-based firm to provide architectural and design services.

But still: The project has not been without controversy and setbacks.

  • The most prominent building on the property — 25,000-square-foot “Building C” — was excluded from the initial design plans because it does not meet the requirements laid out in grant funding.

  • In addition, the project has faced scrutiny from nearby residents who worry it would be a magnet that attracts more unhoused residents to their community. They were also upset the city moved to purchase the building without first approaching them.

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