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Housing and Homelessness

LA's Program To House Homeless Residents In Empty Hotel Rooms Gets A Boost In Federal Aid

Julie Mariane gathers her belongings in a motel room provided to homeless people by the NGO St. Joseph Center, as she gets ready to be transferred to a hotel room in Venice Beach, California on April 26, 2020. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP)
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The city of L.A. is extending Project Roomkey, the program to house those experiencing homelessness in hotels, after a boost in federal aid.

Under Project Roomkey, L.A. would pay for those rooms up front, and then receive a 75% reimbursement from FEMA. Then late last month, President Biden signed an executive order to reimburse cities for 100% of the costs.

On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would release funds up front to extend leases on multiple project roomkey hotels through September 30th:

"LAHSA (the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) and service provider staff will continue to work tirelessly to get our current hotel guests into permanent housing, to move new guests into those rooms and to take every single empty room in those hotels and fill them as soon as possible."

Garcetti said staff would start working to fill 300 empty rooms today.
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He said half the rooms would be reserved for people who had been living on Skid Row and that staff would prioritize immediate placements for Black women, seniors, and those currently living in homeless encampments in Echo Park.

Project Roomkey has been criticized for falling short of its goals.

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