One Month In, Project Roomkey Is Failing To Shelter The Homeless

It's been over one month since Governor Gavin Newsom started a program called Project Roomkey, in which the state of California leased 15,000 hotel rooms in order to house the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. And today, only about half of those hotel and motel rooms are occupied...

According to figures released by Newsom's office and obtained by The Times on Monday, 7,700 of those leased rooms remained vacant. That means less than five percent of the California homeless community has been helped by Newsom's project.

“This has not been a challenge of leasing hotels,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, co-chair of the state’s homelessness task force. “The challenge is much more in insufficient numbers of service providers to deal with a much larger capacity of people and a big question about rehousing.”

Project Roomkey was largely funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but only occupied rooms under the program will be covered by FEMA.

“We’re frankly getting close to understanding what our system capacity is,” said LAHSA’s interim Executive Director Heidi Marston. “Our big [service] providers are getting stretched. That’s a very real concern. Unless we can bring in more human capital to do this work, we’re going to have a hard time continuing to expand capacity.”

Read the full report on the Los Angeles Times.

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