Project Homekey in El Monte gifts resident a makeover: 'It's a helping hand I haven't had in years'

"It makes me feel like there are people in this world that do care," said Diana Sanchez.
EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- Life is certainly much different now for Diana Sanchez.

With the help of Project Homekey in El Monte, which aims to provide temporary housing for its homeless population, Sanchez now has her own apartment.

"It's important for me to be here ... [I] want to take care of myself physically and mentally," said Sanchez.

In November 2020, the city of El Monte was awarded more than $17 million from California's Project Homekey Round 1 to buy two motels for housing.

According to L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, the two sites can provide housing for 133 people - which is about 30% of the city's homeless population.

"The little toothbrush, your coffee in the morning... that's very important because it makes you feel good ... taking a shower," said Sanchez of her life in her new home.

Martin Herrera with El Monte City Council said their work is much more than just a shiny new place to stay.

"It's not sleek steel, not shiny windows ... but yet what is taking place inside. What we are doing here is so much more beautiful," he said.

Sanchez's housing transition was even met with a personal transformation.

As if the shelter and services weren't enough, operators at the Project Homekey site decided to do more.

Eyewitness News was there when Sanchez was surprised with a full makeover, which included a new hairdo, a manicure, new make-up and even new clothes.

"It makes me feel like there are people in this world that do care," said Sanchez.

It's life changing, she said, and to all those who made this possible, she's said she's simply blown away.

"It's a helping hand I haven't had in years," said Sanchez. "It makes me feel more positive, like there is people who care. They didn't have to agree to it and they did."

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