County to extend lease at Hilltop Marriott for homeless housing

Hilltop Marriott hiring ahead of January reopening
Courtyard by Marriott at 3150 Garrity Way. (Photo credit: Mike Kinney)

Contra Costa County will be extending the lease at Hilltop Courtyard by Marriott hotel for another year — through June 30, 2022 — in order to continue housing members of the homeless community, according to Supervisor John Gioia.

The 190-unit Marriott at 3150 Garrity Way is currently being leased by the County to house and protect vulnerable people struggling with homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a state-funded program called Project Roomkey.

The County decided against purchasing the hotel with funding from a related state program called Project Homekey, following pushback from Hilltop neighbors and City Council.

On Tuesday, however, during a Richmond City Council meeting to discuss a plan to reduce the growing problem of unsanctioned RV encampments at Rydin Road and North Castro Street in Richmond, Gioia said the County plans to use alternative funding to extend the lease at the Marriott for another year.

Gioia referenced the lease extension as one of a number of current and future homeless shelter opportunities in Richmond. The County anticipates there will be between 30 and 50 units at the Hilltop hotel that will become available monthly as residents transition to other housing, the supervisor said.

“So there is an opportunity for those who live in an RV to move into basically a single room occupancy hotel room with supportive services where they will also be assisted in finding other housing opportunities,” Gioia told council.

The County also plans to transition the Surestay hotel at Cutting and Canal boulevards, currently being used to house individuals who are positive for COVID-19, to accepting non-positive homeless individuals.

Lavanna Martin, the director of Health, Housing and Homeless Services for the County, told council it currently costs about $288,000 per month for the lease and to provide services at Hilltop Courtyard by Marriott. Gioia said the hotel has been critical in keeping individuals off the street during the pandemic.

Martin says the County is committed to making “all of our resources available” to address house residents of RV and tent encampments in Richmond.

“We don’t want individuals who are in RVs or sleeping in tents to be unsheltered,” Martin told City Council.