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LA County Announces Plan To Shelter Vulnerable Unhoused Angelenos In Hotels

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Los Angeles County officials announced Wednesday a mammoth effort to shelter thousands of homeless people in up to 15,000 hotel rooms.

The hotels are intended to give these people a safe place to isolate during the pandemic.

“They are not sick when they go in. These are for people who are not experiencing symptoms, giving a place to shelter, so they don't contract anything,” said Heidi Marston, the interim director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Service providers and outreach workers are using L.A.’s homeless case management system to identify people outside who are over 65, or have underlying health conditions. The 2019 homeless count identified almost 14,000 people experiencing homelessness who are age 55 or older.

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All sites will provide three meals a day, and 24-hour on-site security.

The goal is to minimize their chances of exposure to COVID-19, and keep the most vulnerable people experiencing unsheltered homelessness out of the hospital.

“By reducing the number of people in that high-risk group, we can reduce the risk that the broader hospital system will be overwhelmed by COVID-19,” said Phil Ansell, who directs L.A. County’s Homeless initiative office.

So far about 1,000 rooms have been leased, and negotiations on another 3,000 are nearly finalized.