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Copley Foundation Grants $2.5 Million To Father Joe’s For Motel Conversion

Father Joe's Villages in San Diego's East Village provides shelter beds and o...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: Father Joe's Villages in San Diego's East Village provides shelter beds and other services to people in need, Sept. 13, 2016.

The David C. Copley Foundation gifted Father Joe's Villages' a $2.5-million grant to fund the planned conversion of a San Diego motel into affordable apartments for people transitioning out of homelessness and into permanent housing, it was announced Wednesday.

The grant is part of the Copley Foundation's stated commitment to support affordable housing solutions in San Diego.

Father Joe's is currently identifying a location for its new community.

RELATED: Mayor Gloria Announces End Of Operation Shelter To Home and Relocation Efforts

The Copley Foundation and Father Joe's have a longstanding relationship. Most recently, the foundation contributed $50,000 to support the Family Living Center, a program for homeless families.

"It is only through the generosity of the San Diego community that our work and our mission to prevent and end homelessness is made a reality," said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe's Villages. "Housing is the single most effective way of getting people off of the streets for good.

"With this gift, eventually another 100 people will leave homelessness behind, leading to a more prosperous future for all of San Diego," Vargas continued.

RELATED: First-Time Homelessness Up In San Diego County

On any given night, more than 7,600 people experience homelessness in San Diego, a Father Joe's report found. High rental prices and low vacancy rates contribute to this crisis throughout the region.

"As we all have witnessed, homelessness in San Diego County has become an overwhelming problem, our county is in crisis, and it simply is not acceptable to allow our fellow human beings to remain living on the street without a roof over their head," said Kimberly Koch, chief operating officer of the David C. Copley Foundation. "The Copley Foundation believes Father Joe's is well qualified and has a proven track record of helping the homeless in San Diego and that is exactly what we hope to achieve with Copley's grant award."

The proposed development is part of Father Joe's Turning the Key initiative, a plan intended to create 2,000 affordable apartments with supportive services for individuals and families overcoming homelessness.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom Proposes $12B To House California’s Homeless

Other Turning the Key projects include Benson Place — a converted motel with 82 affordable units — and Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, an upcoming East Village community which will provide a home to more than 500 individuals exiting homelessness in its 407 units.

Once built, each housing location is planned to generate enough rent to cover expenses related to building operations and services.

Turning the Key relies on a strategic blend of existing public dollars and private contributions.

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