CALIFORNIA – Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday, "Project Roomkey," an initiative to secure hotel and motel rooms in order to protect homeless individuals from coronavirus.
This makes California the first state in the nation to secure FEMA approval to provide safe isolation capacity for tens of thousands of homeless people in the state, to protect them and others from coronavirus.
Project Roomkey, has set an initial goal of securing up to 15,000 rooms for this purpose and county partners have moved 869 homeless individuals off the street, out of shelters, and into isolation, the governor said Friday.
Gov. Newsom said this project means state and local governments will receive up to 75% cost-share reimbursement from FEMA for hotel and motel rooms, including wraparound supports such as meals, security, and custodial services. Behavioral health and health care services will also be provided by the local governments and community partners, as needed.
“Homeless Californians are incredibly vulnerable to COVID-19 and often have no option to self-isolate or social distance,” said Governor Newsom. “By helping the most vulnerable homeless individuals off the street and into isolation, California can slow the spread of COVID-19 through homeless populations, lower the number of people infected and protect critical health care resources. We’re working hard with our county partners to get these hotels up and running as rapidly as possible.”
The governor also announced a partnership with Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which will provide three meals a day to select Project Roomkey hotels through a statewide contract to support local efforts as needed.
The local governments are responsible for identifying which shelter clients or encampment residents are selected for these hotel isolation placements and transporting them to the hotels for intake, Newsom said.