FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – The City of Fresno is now three months into the Project Off-Ramp initiative, which aims to clean up encampments along the freeways and help people experiencing homelessness transition into temporary hotel housing through the state’s Project Home Key.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said the next step is the 99 freeway, where about 100 people are currently taking shelter, but he said right now, there just aren’t enough rooms to house them.
“We’re well on our way,” said Dyer. “We anticipate by the end of May, early part of June we’ll have the 99 complete. Much of that is going to be determined by when we finish the refurbishment of the Travel Inn Motel.”
Dyer said about 70% of the people they contact are willing to participate in the program and receive services, which is a big increase from past efforts.
“We’re allowing them to come as they are,” said Dyer. “They can bring their pet, bring some of their belongings, and they can bring their addiction, and what we commit to is bringing them services and housing those individuals, making them productive again.”
Dyer said the city is partnering with the Housing Authority to purchase six more hotels in addition to those already being used for temporary housing.
The Fresno City Council hosted a workshop Wednesday to discuss the plan moving forward, including eventually converting some of those hotels into more permanent supportive housing, estimating that the process would take about 18 months.