Project Roomkey: LA City Council seeks to expand program for homeless living in hotel, motel rooms

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday to seek ways to expand Project Roomkey, the program that houses homeless people temporarily in available motel and hotel rooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is led by the county and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and houses people 65 or older, those who have underlying medical conditions and those people with other health risks.

"While initially mobilizing an unprecedented volume of emergency housing for 6,600 homeless individuals vulnerable to COVID-19, the concerns related to the availability of federal resources has shifted conversations to whether Project Roomkey locations should begin to be phased out,'' Council President Nury Martinez stated in her original motion.

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"Rather than allowing these concerns to lead conversations about closing down facilities, the city must take a concerted and proactive approach to change these circumstances so that the city can continue to support our most vulnerable homeless populations during a time that their health and safety is at greater risk than ever.''

Martinez made an amendment Wednesday to her motion to also have city staff ensure units that extend the program would count toward a settlement of providing 6,700 units for homeless people.

This would count toward an agreement with the county on providing shelter for people who are currently living under or near freeway overpasses, which was ordered by a federal judge.

Martinez also asked for a report on recommendations on eligible funding resources to serve as the local match to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's resources.
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