California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to direct $62 million to counties in order to allow them to continue providing housing for people currently living in Project Roomkey hotels and motels, as announced Monday.
Project Roomkey, a program that moves unhoused individuals who are at high-risk for COVID-19 into hotels to protect them from the disease, is especially crucial as winter approaches and COVID-19 case counts rise, according to the press release.
“Project Roomkey exceeded all expectations, providing safe shelter to more than 22,300 Californians experiencing homelessness,” Newsom said in the press release. “But this pandemic is very much still with us – and we can’t take our eye off the ball.”
Of the $62 million, from the Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account and provided by the California Department of Social Services, $24 million will be used to continue current Project Roomkey operations, $35 million will be used for implementing plans to transition Project Roomkey housing into permanent housing and $3 million will be used for technical assistance.
Kerry Abbott, director of Homeless Care and Coordination at the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, said in the press release that Alameda County “welcomes” this emergency allocation.
“This takes time and resources and California’s leadership continues to excel by partnering with counties to shelter and house homeless people during COVID-19,” Abbott said in the press release.
Newsom’s administration will make these funds available immediately to local governments with Project Roomkey sites in order to prevent individuals under this “life-saving program” from losing their place to stay, according to the press release.
In January, the administration plans on discussing more permanent housing solutions for homeless individuals who are at risk for COVID-19 and ideas for expanding Project Roomkey.
“At the end of the day, our top objective for this new funding is keeping everyone – including people experiencing homelessness – safe from COVID-19,” Newsom said in the press release.