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The city of Redlands broke ground on a new project to convert a former motel into housing for the unsheltered.

Redlands Mayor Paul Barich joined real estate developing company Shangri-La Industries and housing nonprofit Step Up on Second Street Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony at a former Good Nite Inn motel that will be converted into 99 units of “supportive housing.”

“This groundbreaking underscores the City’s strong commitment to creating supportive housing for our unhoused residents,” Barich said in a news release.

Barich said he looks forward to welcoming unsheltered residents to the new housing project and hopes they can feel “safe and supported” while there.

The conversion project is being funded through California’s Homekey Initiative, which provides funding to cities and regions to quickly increase available housing for people experiencing homelessness or those on the brink. Recipients of the funds can use the money to convert motels, hotels, apartment buildings or other facilities into permanent or transition housing for those in need.

Lourdes Castro Ramírez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony and said the Homekey Initiative has provided more than 10,000 units across the state.

The city of Redlands has been awarded $30 million through the program to increase its available housing and the Good Nite Inn is the latest site set to undergo one of those conversion projects.

It comes at a crucial time for the city; in the most recent point-in-time count, 184 people in the city were identified as unhoused. City officials and their project partners hope the renovated motel will help fill a critical need in getting people off the street and into safer conditions.

Tod Lipka, Step Up’s president and CEO, said the organization’s properties not only provide a safe place to sleep, but also provide support services and resources to help those experiencing homelessness obtain the help needed “to rejoin our community.”

“We congratulate the City of Redlands for developing partnerships and solutions to provide safe, stable housing for people exiting homelessness in their community,” Ramirez said.

The redevelopment of the project is being led by Shangri-La, which has successfully completed similar projects across the state, including one such project in San Bernardino.

“This project is a testament to what we can do when government and private industries come together to solve complex problems and deliver services to our communities,” CEO Andy Meyers said.