Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California has become the first state in the nation to secure FEMA approval to provide safe isolation capacity for tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness in California in order to protect them and the state from COVID-19.
The state’s effort, 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 most vulnerable to COVID-19 off the street, out of shelters and into isolation. Project Roomkey will target hotels in counties with significant homeless populations that are also experiencing high concentrations of COVID-19 transmission. Local governments to date have secured 6,867 hotel and motel rooms for this purpose.
State and local governments will receive up to 75 percent cost-share reimbursement from FEMA for hotel and motel rooms, including wraparound supports, such as meals, security and custodial services. Essential behavioral health and health care services will also be provided by the local governments and community partners, as needed. The state will provide dedicated support teams to counties, including assistance in identifying hotels, negotiating and executing operating agreements, and providing the local providers technical assistance in keeping the records necessary to receive federal reimbursement.