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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — After three years of living on the streets and in and out of shelters and motels, Joyce Sheley finally has a permanent place to call her own.

“It’s just a studio, but it’s just perfect for me by myself — and it’s mine. I can pay the rent and not have to worry about not having nowhere to go,” Sheley told FOX40. 

Sheley is one of the first new tenants to move into a room at the old Relax Inn on North Wilson Way in Stockton. The motel is undergoing renovations and will be called Town Center Studios.

It is part of Project Homekey, a statewide intuitive to house homeless individuals during the pandemic and beyond.

“It’s real progress and we’re truly excited when you can get somebody into housing,” said Jon Mendelson, Central Valley Low Income Housing Corporation’s executive director, who is working with the city on the project.

He said when renovations are completed, as many as 40 people will be housed, adding that tenants will also have access to other resources.

“We’re also partnering with other service providers to provide health care services, behavioral health, and to make sure most importantly that people are connected to what they need as individuals. Everybody needs something different,” he said.

Right now, 13 of the first 20 rooms are occupied and more people will be moving in after the new year.

“We had nothing, and now, we have something. It’s just unbelievable,” said Rebecca Dillman.

For people like her, having permanent housing is heaven-sent.

“Really, it’s a blessing in so many ways because now I’m not homeless, I have a place of my own,” she said. “I’m still in shock.”

Tenants who are all on federal assistance will have to pay rent, but it won’t be more than 30% of their monthly income.

Dillman and others moving in said they won’t take their new living situation for granted.

“The best thing to ever happen. I love it,” Sheley said.

The Central Valley Low Income Housing Corp. said the 40 units are a good start, but the need is so great that there’s already a waiting list.

Those interested in still applying can fill out an application at