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Thousand Oaks

City Seems Ready To Lengthen Allowable Stays at Interim Housing Site

Last month, the Thousand Oaks City Council approved, 5-0, new lease and management agreements for its Navigation Center for Persons Experiencing Homelessness (Nav Center) at 1205 Lawrence Drive in Newbury Park. But what was intended to be a temporary, interim housing project with guests residing for 30-90 days looks likely to become much longer-term housing, according to City staff.

At the January 16 council meeting, Ingrid Hardy, assistant city manager, was asked by Councilman Bob Engler to explain the difference between the 30-to-50-unit Nav Center and permanent affordable housing, such as has been in development at the Quality Inn and Suites site off of Conejo Blvd. and Hillcrest Dr. Engler also asked Hardy if the “30-day optimum period” referenced in her presentation for transitioning residents from emergency to permanent housing was based on “experience or is that an aspirational goal?”

Hardy said the Nav Center, comprised of transportable, modular units, was strictly emergency, crisis-driven housing. The goal is to move occupants into permanent, supportive housing before the City’s emergency shelter code, which limits stays to six months, kicks in. But the City doesn’t have enough permanent, affordable housing to accommodate the demand, said Hardy.

The situation is further complicated now that Shangri-La, developer of the $35 million Quality Inn Project Homekey housing, is defaulting on loans. Both Shangri-La and the City of Thousand Oaks are now being sued. (For more on the lawsuits, see California Department of Housing and Community Development vs. Shangri-La Industries et al., Los Angeles County Superior Court Case #24STCV00629 and F. Roberts Construction Inc. vs. Shangri-La Industries, LLC, et al., Ventura County Superior Court Case #2023CUBC018021.)

While municipal code Sec. 9-4.2525.(11) limits stays to six months, Hardy acknowledged, “sometimes it can take a little bit longer.” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told the Los Angeles Times in December 2023 that she has come to understand, “The reality is … interim [housing] is really going to mean more like a year-and-a-half to two years.”

Can Thousand Oaks also expect interim housing residents to stay for multiple years? Hardy was cagey about offering specifics, but she did confirm to the Guardian that an “amendment” likely to extend the allowable time of residence at the temporary facility will be considered very soon. As Hardy emailed the Guardian, “a municipal code amendment on this portion of the code, along with other code amendments will go to the Planning Commission in February and to the City Council in March.”

At the council meeting, Hardy commented on the change, “As long as someone is working towards their housing plan, they will be able to continue their stay.”

Many Mansions will serve as the property manager and sole owner of the residential units constructed on the site. Dignity Moves, which developed an interim housing project for Santa Barbara County, will oversee the construction.

1 COMMENT

  1. Appreciate the update! I didnt know all the details about this until this release. Its unfortunate the CTO doesnt have regular City Manager updates like the City of Malibu does.

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