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California Has Surpassed Its Goal Of 15,000 Hotel Rooms For The Homeless

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A new partnership with Motel 6 has helped California surpass its initial goal of 15,000 hotel rooms to support the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said today.

Project Roomkey is the state's effort to get the most vulnerable Californians off the streets and into shelter. As of today, the state had procured nearly 11,000 hotel or motel rooms as part of the project, and 4,211 people are now inside and off the streets, Newsom said. That's an occupancy rate of about 38%.

Adding to that total, Motel 6 agreed to set aside 47 of its motels in 19 counties for an additional 5,025 rooms, bringing the total to nearly 16,000 rooms.

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Newsom said all the occupants of these rooms will be provided three meals a day through a partnership with World Central Kitchen.

Project Roomkey puts a priority on the most vulnerable, including:

  • Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus
  • Those who live in congregate settings who have been exposed
  • Those who are most likely to get severe illness, including the elderly and those with underlying medical issues

Newsom said the state is looking for ways to reserve some of these hotel rooms to provide longer-term solutions to the homelessness crisis. The state and Motel 6 are working on a "template" lease agreement that, the governor said, might "make it much easier beyond this pandemic to potentially consider these sites as a broader portfolio to provide some more permanency for those most in need in the state of California."
The news comes as 87 more people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. That brings the total deaths in California to 1,072, Newsom reported.

Hospitalizations also increased in the past 24 hours by 1.3%, though the number of people in intensive care units decreased a small amount, about 0.1%.

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