Press Release from the True North Organizing Network:

On Oct. 15 the Yurok Indian Housing Authority and the Arcata House

Partnership were notified that they had been approved for a $2.2 million grant through California’s Project Homekey to purchase an 18-unit motel in Eureka.This funding would provide $1.8 million in development and renovation, and $400,000 for operational support. The grant was formally announced in a press conference hosted by Governor Gavin Newsom today and the Yurok Tribe’s Chairman Joe James was featured on the Governor’s livestream announcement as a featured panelist, during which he praised the hard work and innovation of community partners who have come together to provide clean, safe homes for the most vulnerable in our society. The motel property, ​ located at 1802 and 1805 4​ St., will provide permanent supportive housing for 30 people who are unhoused and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional support funding will be provided in part through philanthropic funds from ​Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield/Blue Cross.

“This is a super opportunity for our community,” said Yurok Indian Housing Authority Director Nicole Sager, “we are incredibly excited that all of these different people and opportunities have come together to improve the lives of all the people in our community.”

“This is an inspiring project for all of us,” said Darlene Spoor, Executive Director of Arcata House Partnership. “We are happy to be partnering with all of the tribes and communities, as well as True North.”

Yurok Indian Housing Authority serves members of all tribal entities across its service area; one quarter of the units will be reserved for Native Americans, who represent the second highest group/race of unsheltered persons living in Humboldt County and also face increased risks of COVID-related complications. The units, which are being equipped with kitchenettes, will be move-in ready by Dec. 30. Eligibility will be determined according to whether or not a person is at or below 30 percent of Humboldt County’s median income, as well as agreeing to certain rules and regulations to be a part of a safe and healthy community environment; residents will pay rent according to their income and receive intensive case management and supportive services to develop independent living skills through Arcata House Partnership.

Project Homekey is the successor of the state’s Project Roomkey, which distributed federal aid to help house those most vulnerable to COVID-19 in motels. Funding for the Eureka motel project was awarded to YIHA after a tight two-week grant process which saw public entities in 18 counties apply for $45 million in grant funding for similar projects. $17 million was ultimately awarded, including $2.4 million for purchase of a motel in Crescent City. True North Organizing Network provided logistical support by identifying eligible stakeholders for the grant process and supporting the county’s grant proposal process. Housing and homelessness has been identified as one of the five core issues of True North’s regional work in the Klamath River basin.

“Evidence-based permanent supportive housing programs have been shown to lower public costs associated with the use of crisis services such as shelters, hospitals, jails, and prisons.” said Terry Supahan, True North’s Executive Director. “Numerous studies have shown average annual taxpayer savings of at least $4,800 per individual. Humboldt County has one of the highest per capita rates of homelessness in the nation, which makes this project and others offering permanent supportive housing a fiscally effective solution. But, more importantly, this project offers an answer to the systemic inefficiencies which have created and exacerbated our current homelessness crisis. Every person deserves the dignity of a door they can close behind them and feel safe. We are thankful to be able to support this work.”

About True North Organizing Network:

The True North Organizing Network is a non-partisan organization working throughout Del Norte And Tribal Lands (DNATL) and Humboldt County. Its members are families, elders, youth, and individuals of diverse faith traditions, races, cultures, and economic situations. True North is an affiliated federation of PICO California and a member of the Faith in Action National Network ​—​ one of the largest faith-based community organizing efforts in the country working in over 140 cities and 17 states.