COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- Next month 88 units of permanent supportive housing will open in Costa Mesa - and 40 of the rooms will serve homeless veterans.
The site used to be a Motel 6, but thanks to the state's Project Homekey, the once-problematic property has been transformed.
"We had issues related to calls for service for prostitution, drugs, burglaries," said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. "All kinds of different crimes. People were living here for housing because they didn't have housing and it was not a well-maintained motel."
Homekey is a state-run program that converts former office space, hotels and other buildings into homeless housing at a faster pace and lower cost, averaging $200,000 a unit.
Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared at the site Thursday to tout the state's efforts to combat homelessness as well as campaign for Proposition 1, the March ballot measure that provides more funds to tackle homelessness and the mental health crisis.
"We want to keep this going," Newsom said. "Here's the challenge: That $3.5 billion (in previous funding), that money is running out. In March, you have a chance to do something about that. You have a chance to replicate success to allow us to continue to scale this success and move with the urgency that's needed at the moment in passing Proposition 1: A $6.4 billion housing bond that will allow $2 billion to be invested in projects like this."
The governor also weighed in on the Republican presidential primary ahead of Tuesday's vote in New Hampshire. Newsom has previously feuded with and engaged in a debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"DeSantis is toast," Newsom said. "That's self-evident. I don't think he's even spending much time in New Hampshire. He's given up on that. I don't even know a state he can win in the primary. This race is over. Donald Trump is going to be the nominee yet again. We have our work cut out for us as Democrats."