Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas visited one of the largest Project Roomkey sites — a hotel in downtown Los Angeles — and met some of its new residents, many of whom had been homeless and living on the streets.
“With Project Roomkey, Los Angeles County and its partners have been able to bring thousands of homeless people safely indoors in a matter of weeks, and this unprecedented work is still pushing forward,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgency of bringing Everyone In — Project Roomkey protects those elderly residents particularly vulnerable to the disease, but also preserves the health of the larger community and provides income tohotels to help them stay in business. It’s a win-win on multiple fronts.”
Launched by Governor Gavin Newsom on April 3rd, Project Roomkey is a first-in-the-nation initiative to repurpose vacant hotel and motel rooms for vulnerable, elderly homeless individuals and couples who have no symptoms but are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Thanks to LA County voters, Measure H – which was approved in 2017 and championed by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas — has dramatically expanded the ability of LA County, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (a joint city-county agency), and local nonprofit service providers to serve the homeless population.
Partnering with the State on Project Roomkey, LA County and LAHSA have been able to secure 3,300 rooms at 33 hotel/motel sites countywide, and have staffed many of them with a host of service providers.
As of May 20th, more than 2,400 homeless people who are 65 or older or who have underlying health conditions are now staying in a Project Roomkey hotel, and more are being brought in every day.