Los Angeles is still 80% short of its goal to provide 15,000 hotel rooms for its homeless population, a month after the county announced the initiative.
On April 8, Los Angeles County launched “Project Roomkey,” a partnership between the state, county, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to secure hotel and motel rooms to be used as temporary shelters to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic.
“Project Roomkey aims to not only protect high-risk individuals, but to also prevent the spread of the deadly virus in our communities and protect the capacity of our fragile hospitals and healthcare system,” the county said.
While the goal was to secure 15,000 rooms with state and federal funding, the latest news release from LA County shows that only 2,711 rooms have been secured.
“To date, we have 30 properties with 2,711 rooms that will be made available to the most vulnerable. As rooms become operational, vulnerable residents are moving in every day,” said a LA County spokesperson.
On LA’s Skid Row — the nation’s biggest concentration of homeless people –100 coronavirus infections have been confirmed, a shelter executive told CNN on Monday. The growing number of infections have raised fears of an outbreak among the city’s homeless community. The county has a homeless population of about 60,000 people.
In a news conference on Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city secured a large hotel in downtown LA, providing 460 more rooms.
The county now has a total of 3,171 rooms with the new addition, which is roughly 20% of its goal.
A LA County spokesperson says negotiations with hotel and motel owners are ongoing.
“We believe that this urgent humanitarian initiative is housing more people more quickly than ever before in our region’s history,” LA County said in a statement.
California has reported at least 55,884 coronavirus cases, including 2,278 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.