Opening Doors to Bright Futures at The St. Clare at Capitol Park

One of California’s most successful strategies in the fight against homelessness has been converting old, under-used hotels to affordable housing. In January, Mercy Housing California (MHC) was proud to re-open Sacramento’s century-old Capitol Park Hotel as The St. Clare at Capitol Park, welcoming new residents to 134 permanent supportive apartment homes.

The architectural majesty of the original building remains, while much-needed housing, supportive services for residents, and 2,600 feet of neighborhood-serving ground-floor commercial space have been added to downtown Sacramento.

“The St. Clare at Capitol Park will be a new community where the formerly unhoused will find not just shelter, but the beginnings of a hopeful tomorrow,” said Rich Ciraulo, Regional Director of Real Estate Development for MHC’s Sacramento office, in an interview with Sacramento City Express. “To have accomplished this while also restoring and preserving a beautiful historic building in the heart of our downtown is an achievement that can fill every Sacramentan with pride.”

MHC partnered with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to acquire the site and create a plan to turn it into permanent supportive housing, a proven solution to reduce homelessness and help people get their lives back on track. Work began in December 2020 to completely remodel the interior while preserving the building’s elegant façade, as well as many historical and architecturally striking features such as the hexagonal tile in the St. Clare’s lobby and two of the original historic stairs.

When residents began to arrive at The St. Clare, they were greeted with surprise “Welcome Baskets” providing key essentials to make their transition smoother, including kitchen wares and cleaning supplies. More than 80 volunteers led by longtime Mercy Housing partner Sister Katherine Doyle, RSM, assembled the welcome baskets in the fall of 2023. In addition to these, Mercy Foundation raised $14,791.09 to furnish each apartment with microwave ovens. Finally, the Kaiser Permanente Greater Sacramento provided a $6,000 sponsorship toward welcome gifts for the residents of the St. Clare at Capital Park. Contributions of this kind can make a world of difference to someone rebuilding their lives after a period of living without shelter. Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Mercy Housing in your neighborhood here.

The building has already received accolades from community partners and government officials. In 2023, the Sacramento Business Journal awarded it a Real Estate Project of the Year Award.

“The success of this rehab shows what’s possible when a community decides to treat homelessness as a solvable problem,” said MHC’s VP of Operations, Lilli Lew-Hailer, in her speech accepting the award. “The next time you visit downtown Sacramento, I hope you all will get a chance to walk past this beautifully restored historic building and see what a great contribution it makes to the city’s urban core.”