Fontana Converting Hotel Into Transitional Homeless Shelter

The City of Fontana is going to convert one of its struggling motels into a homeless shelter for local residents.
Using American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds it received from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and another $5 million allocated to it by the County of San Bernardino and another $4 million in funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city intends to purchase and renovate the Sure Stay Hotel, located at 17133 Valley Boulevard in Fontana. The hotel currently has 60 rooms.
Those rooms are to be outfitted with 120 beds, perhaps ones that are already in place, and the units are to provide what the city called “interim housing.”
There is to be 24-hour managed care for residents at the facility, including social rehabilitation, substance abuse services and job training, all of which is intended to return those housed and cared for to functionality and independence.
The projected cost of the project is $15.3 million, of which $6.3 million is American Rescue Plan Act funds that have been set aside for this specific purpose.
As the funding coming from the county originated with the federal government, all of the money slated for the purchase and conversion of the hotel will consist of federal money.
The project, which is to augment and greatly expand on the city’s current provision of 12 emergency shelter beds, 20 transitional housing beds and 10 permanent supportive housing beds elsewhere in the city, is to be completed in relatively rapid order, with the takeover and renovation of the Sure Stay to be finished by March, followed by an occupancy permit issuance and services being available to Fontana’s homeless residents in April.
The city will prioritize providing services to individuals with ties to the Fontana Community.
Homelessness is increasing countywide and particularly in Fontana.
Overall in San Bernarrdino County, homelessness increased 25.9 percent above what had been the case in 2022 when the annual survey of the dispossessed was carried out on January 26.
With 4,195 of the county’s 2,225,586 inhabitants identified as having no home, 0.018848968316659 percent of the population is fully destitute, that is, one out of every 530.53 people.
There were both sheltered and unsheltered homeless in the county. The number of adults and children counted as unsheltered increased by 24.6 percent when the 2023 unsheltered count of 2,976 is compared to the 2022 unsheltered count of 2,389.
Fontana had a total of 240 homeless, which was substantially over the 156 counted in Fontana in 2022.
The $5 million provided by the county last month paved the way for the city to carry forward with the project. The reason for the sudden generosity is a commitment by the county to disgorge the homeless funds it has rather than husband them for some imagined project that never comes to fruition, thereby entailing the county having to return the money to the federal government or the State of California.
Such a scenario played out earlier this year, when the county had to return $4.4 million it had been provided to assist the homeless after it temporized in making use of that funding.
Both the county, in the form of former County Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez, and outside agencies and nonprofits set up to help the homeless descended into a round of recriminations over who was responsible for the lack of action in putting those funds to work. Whatever the actuality, there are legions of homeless who never saw any assistance as the nonprofits and agencies were unable to coordinate on how to proceed with using the available funding that eventually elapsed.
When the project is completed, Fontana will be the fourth county city to see a major homeless services support project or projects in place.
San Bernardino has three homeless residence projects provided by outside charities. Redlands now has in place a city-sponsored 120-bed homeless shelter that was converted from the Good Nite Inn, managed by Step Up On Second.
Next week, Victorville will dedicate a 170-bed homeless facility consisting of 110 separate units with varying 4-person, 2-person and single person accommodations. It is intended to be functioning before Christmas, with a target opening date of December 13.

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