Egan updates supes on Homekey Project near Diamond View School

County Administrator Richard Egan provided an update on the Homekey Project planned near Diamond View School — the subject of recent concern because of the project’s proximity to the school and the students there.

The site of a 15-unit low-income housing project at the old hospital.

“You gave very clear and unanimous direction to proceed with the Project Homekey project on Hospital Lane, and since then I know there’s been some public concerns raised to the board and myself,” Egan said. “Having said that, the direction remains clear and unanimous, and I intend to proceed according to that direction in terms of execution of the required documents, unless there’s some intervening change in direction. I want to be very clear about that because we’ve got some action coming up fairly soon that I’m going to need to take, and I want to be very clear with the board about that.

“I have participated in a couple of calls recently about Project Homekey statewide, and I’ve got to tell you it’s all over the place. Some jurisdictions are very pleased with the way it’s going … others are not. Others have problems with the people they’ve chose to partner with. They’ve had trouble with no lack of allowable restrictions that are placed on Project Homekey and the resulting crime and that sort of thing. And then there’s the Constitutional challenges that are going to be heard here in a couple of weeks.

The site of a 15-unit low-income housing project at the old hospital.

“So, I just want to keep the board up to date on where we are on that project. It’s proceedings as far as I know.”

Disrict 2 Supervisor Gary Bridges asked Egan if such projects have cost other counties money.

“There are cases where it’s clearly going to cost the county money in terms of legal defense,” Egan said. “There’s a major project, I believe it’s San Bernardino County where the company is not performing and there’s been a trustee assigned. One thing is clear. The state designed Project Homekey to drag counties into so there’s somebody to clean up the mess. Otherwise, we have no real reason to participate. The state could just engage with whoever they wanted to engage with. So, I think there’s a risk there, and I think a lot of counties are going to end up eating it. It may be different in other jurisdictions where they are looking at this in terms of they’re paying for the problem already — housing people with vouchers and hotels and other means — and so even if it does cost them money, it will be less than it would have cost them. Every situation is different.”

Bridges said he saw the possibility and that concerned him.

“I don’t like stepping in that direction,” Bridges said.

His other concern is the young age group expected to find housing in the project. He said he’s rather see veterans in there because they have more pride in their surroundings and are more responsible.

The supervisors took no action to reverse course on the project.