Community Development Partners and Mercy House begin conversion of former motel to much needed housing for Orange County

The community designed for veterans, low-income seniors and those facing mental health challenges will include services and support that allow residents to thrive

COSTA MESA, Calif., March 14, 2023 — An effort to convert a motel complex into affordable apartments for at least 87 Orange County residents leaps forward this month as work begins at the site of a former Motel 6 on Newport Boulevard at Alberta Place.

Newport Beach-based Community Development Partners, the lead developer, is launching the first 40-unit phase of the two-phase project, which will provide 30 units for formerly homeless veterans. Another 10 units will be available for people at risk of homelessness and eligible for help under the Mental Health Services Act. The first phase is scheduled for completion near the end of 2023.

A second phase, scheduled to begin early in 2024, will provide an additional 47 units for seniors who earn no more than 50 percent of the area median income.

People who live in both phases of the former motel complex will receive a range of supportive services from several social service providers, including Santa Ana-based Mercy House and the Office of Veterans Affairs. The project is intended to provide stable, permanent housing to veterans, low-income seniors and others who have struggled to keep a roof over their heads.

“This project is especially important to us because it’s right in our backyard,” said Kyle Paine, president of Community Development Partners. “We’ll be able to provide immediate relief to our local veterans and community members and give them a path to achieving long-term stability. We think it’s a project that everyone can celebrate.”

The Motel 6 conversion is a collaborative initiative with partners Community Development Partners, Mercy House, the U.S. Departments of Veterans Administration and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the state of California, Orange County and the city of Costa Mesa. It leverages federal COVID relief funds under California’s Homekey program, which has renovated or constructed affordable housing projects throughout the state, as well as contributions from the city and county.

Homekey has housed more than 8,200 individuals at more than 120 sites around the state. CDP has developed more than 40 affordable communities in four states. With the Motel 6 project, they are joining The County of Orange and the City of Costa Mesa to serve three critically underserved populations at one location.

Mercy House, which provides a range of services for people throughout the region who are homeless or in need of stable housing, will have a full-time staff member on-site. In addition, support and case management services will be provided to tenants from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under the HUD-VASH program and by Orange County under the Mental Health Services Act.

Larry Haynes, the chief executive officer of Mercy House, said the Motel 6 project shows how Mercy House and such partners as Community Development Partners are working together to end homelessness in Southern California.

“When we talk about permanent housing, we’re talking about giving people responsibility, dignity and peace of mind,” said Haynes, whose organization has helped more than 100,000 people get off the streets and into housing. “That’s the way to end homelessness.”

During the reconstruction of this multi-phased project, Community Development Partners will reconfigure and refinish the motel site to add:

  • Accessible bathrooms with new tubs, shower enclosures, fans and toilets
  • New kitchenettes with ranges, refrigerators and microwaves
  • A new exterior facade, signage and landscaping
  • Common spaces, including a business center, TV/game room, community garden, flexible community room and outdoor podium deck picnic area
  • Offices for on-site support services providers

For military veterans, the motel conversion project extends the area’s legacy of military service. It stands within easy reach of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base, now the site of Orange County’s Heroes Hall Museum, and it’s in the same area where many veterans returning from World War II settled with their families in newly-constructed tract housing.

The Motel 6 project also extends a string of successful motel conversions under California’s Homekey program. In Orange County, these include acquisitions and conversions of the Tahiti Motel, Stanton Inn and Suites, Riviera Motel and Huntington Beach Quality Inn.

“Project ‘Homekey in a Box’ presents promising opportunities to solve homelessness among our most vulnerable populations while cleaning up our surrounding communities,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, Fifth District. “By converting this motel, we will increase our ability to provide wraparound services for veterans, disabled seniors, and others experiencing or on the verge of homelessness. Much work remains to be done to solve homelessness in Orange County, but I look forward to ramping up our supportive housing efforts.”

“I could not be more pleased that the conversion of the Motel 6 on Newport Blvd is moving forward,” said Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens. “This is a joint effort of all levels of government, federal, state, county and city to provide affordable housing for veterans and seniors in need. It is great to be working with a local developer, Community Development Partners, and to continue our collaboration with Mercy House, which also operates our Bridge Shelter. I’m grateful for the hard work and resources devoted to this worthy effort by everyone involved.“

The project architect is City Fabrick, the contractor is ICON National and FPI Management will provide property management.


About Community Development Partners

Founded in 2011, Community Development Partners develops and operates sustainable, life-enhancing affordable housing with a focus on long term community engagement and innovative design. As a mission-driven, forward-thinking organization, CDP is focused exclusively on creating vibrant affordable housing communities that incorporate art, public parks, gardens, fresh food, and cultural and social programming. Today, CDP has successfully built, preserved or is actively developing over 45 unique projects comprising 4,000 units throughout Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

About Mercy House

For over 30 years, Mercy House has provided programs that include outreach, shelter and permanent housing with comprehensive supportive services throughout seven counties in California and Arizona serving homeless and low-income individuals and families, including those with disabilities and experiencing chronic homelessness. Its mission is to be a leader in ending homelessness by providing a unique system of dignified housing opportunities, programs and supportive services. Mercy House staff have extensive knowledge of the needs and barriers faced by the families and chronically homeless in our community, and they utilize a variety of resources and service coordination partnerships which is imperative to their success.

More information about the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey program.

Download a PDF of the press release here.