CALIFORNIA'S INNOVATIVE PROJECT ROOMKEY

California has come up with an innovative project for the homeless to take them off the streets and protect them from contracting the COVID-19 virus.



KCRA 3 News reported that Gov. Gavin Newsom told a news conference Tuesday in the Bay Area about the latest on the state's efforts to secure hotel and motel rooms for the homeless in order to protect them and others from COVID-19.

Speaking in front of a motel in Contra Costa County, Newsom said California was able to procure 15,679 rooms and get an estimated 14,200 people off the street. Fifty-two of California's 58 counties are participating in the state's Project Roomkey.

Back in March, California projected that over an eight-week period, some 60,000 unsheltered people across the state could end up infected with COVID-19. Health officials worried that the virus could sweep through homeless encampments, where people live close together and access to showers and hand-washing stations is limited.

There are more than 100,000 homeless people in the state of California, according to the governor's office. The state is home for about one-quarter of the nation's homeless.

FEMA is providing 75% reimbursements for the Project Roomkey initiative, which has been extended but is not permanent, Newsom said.

In the $202.1 billion budget Newsom signed Monday, governments will get nearly $1.8 billion in federal money to respond to the coronavirus, which includes housing the homeless. The state is giving local governments an additional $300 million for homeless services.

The state budget, which had to plug a $54 billion deficit caused by the coronavirus crisis, includes $248 million in cuts to housing programs, but that spending would be restored if the federal government sends the state more money by Oct. 15.

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