LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion today to expand Project Roomkey, which uses vacant hotel and motel rooms to house people experiencing homelessness.
The motion by Mike Bonin and Rithya Raman states that the funding for the expansion would be through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which, following an announcement by the Biden administration last week, will now provide reimbursements for 100% of city expenses for programs like Project Roomkey through September.
The program was previously reimbursed by FEMA at 75%.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to get tens of thousands of people off the streets quickly,'' Bonin said. “Compared to other solutions, using hotels and motels is quick and easy. We can put Project Roomkey on steroids and make a major dent in homelessness at no cost to Los Angeles. It is imperative we seize this moment.''
Project Roomkey has housed 6,150 people since it was launched last March to protect unhoused Angelenos from COVID-19 by housing them outside of congregate shelters.
“During the pandemic, our city's unhoused population has been uniquely vulnerable, forced to choose between exposure to a dangerously cold and wet winter and the elevated risk of outbreaks in congregate shelters,'' Raman said. “L.A. must seize this lifeline from the federal government and make every effort to offer rooms to as many of our unhoused residents as possible.''
If the City Council approves the motion, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, along with the chief legislative analyst and the chief administrative officer, would be instructed to return with a report on opportunities to expand and improve Project Roomkey, including how participation from hotels and motels can be increased.
City Attorney Mike Feuer would be asked to report on steps that could be taken for the city to commandeer hotels and motels to use as housing for people experiencing homelessness.
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