An old Culver City motel will soon serve a new purpose.

The lot that formerly housed Deano’s Motel and the Sunburst Motel at 3868 and 3900 Sepulveda Blvd. has officially completed its transformation into Culver City’s first Project Homekey site. 73 units split into sections of interim and permanent housing will be opened to help bring unhoused residents off the streets in small waves starting this month.

Elected officials and city staff gathered at the new site to celebrate the momentous occasion last Friday. Several of the rooms were open for those at the ceremony to view, including a special room that had pictures of slabs inside the walls of the building with encouraging messages from members of Culver City’s city council.

Project Homekey is a statewide initiative that provides funding for the conversion of commercial and other building types— mainly hotels and motels — into interim and permanent housing units for unhoused residents.

The city bought the projects last year thanks to a push by Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove to grant the city $3.4 million for the purchase of these lots while working as State Senator. Multiple Culver City officials — including Mayor Albert Vera — credited this money with making the project possible.

“Sydney Kamlager-Dove believed in this project before we submitted the application,” Housing Department Director Tevis Barnes said.

This project will provide both interim housing — which will have a baseline duration of 90 days of tenancy with a chance for extension — and permanent supportive housing, the latter of which Culver City councilmember Freddy Puza said is a proven solution for combatting the homelessness issues.

“We know the solution is permanent supportive housing, so I hope we can really think towards the future about how we can provide housing and services to our neighbors,” Puza said.

On top of providing shelter, services will be available for residents at the site. Vera noted that providing services to get people into a position to take care of themselves is an important piece towards solving the homelessness crisis.

“Our unhoused neighbors will be in a safe indoor place where they will find services, healing, and stability,” Vera said. 

The city partnered with local organization Exodus Recovery to provide this site and its services, which include linen and laundry service, meals, access to social services, and an on-site case manager.

This project adds to the new services that Culver City has begun providing for the city’s homeless population. A new Safe Sleep site is currently in operation, and the city has activated a Crisis Intervention team to respond to mental health episodes and substance dependency issues.

California State Assemblymember Issac Bryan was also in attendance to celebrate the opening of the project. He said that the 73 units this project would provide was a massive accomplishment, noting that the homeless population in Culver City is just over 400.

“I am proud of all the people and neighbors in Culver City that have decided that the struggles of the most vulnerable living on the streets are not their problems, but our problems,” Bryan said. “We fight for solutions that benefit everybody, and this is one of those solutions.”

Photo by the author is of an actual room on site.

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