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Hotels For Homeless Could Become Permanent Solutions

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Homelessness on Skid Row, photographed on June 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (James Bernal for KPCC) James Bernal
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State and county officials in California have been negotiating with hundreds of hotels in order to house homeless people during the COVID-19 outbreak. The state hopes the plan could eventually turn into a long-term solution to get more people off the streets.

"The opportunity to turn this into some permanent housing solutions and adding stock is something we're really trying to keep an eye on as we move forward,” said Ali Sutton, Gov. Gavin Newsom's deputy secretary of homelessness.

California is currently working to lease hotels and motels for homeless people during the crisis. If that works out, it could also mean purchasing the properties from owners, who may be under economic duress after the state emerges from its efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. The state may do the same with apartment buildings.

On Saturday, Newsom announced that over 2,400 hotel rooms had already been secured, with about 1,900 in San Diego County alone. Sutton says the number statewide is now closer to 4,000 rooms.

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During the outbreak, priority will be given to those who test positive for coronavirus, who are showing symptoms, or who are elderly.

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