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Newsom Says Some Hotels Housing Homeless Will Be Purchased By State

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Gavin Newsom announcing some hotels will be acquired by California. (Screengrab/Office of the Governor)
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Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that the state will try to acquire some of the dozens of hotels being used in Project Roomkey, which has brought thousands of Californians inside to shield them from the pandemic.

He said that the program going forward will be renamed "Project Homekey," to give it a sense of permanency.

One of the major unanswered questions about the program is what happens next when hotels start wanting their rooms back. Nobody wants to kick people back out to the street, but at some point the pandemic will end.

So Newsom said some of those hotels will be bought and converted into permanent housing, with $550 million allocated in the state's new budget.

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The Governor said it’s cheaper to acquire already extant buildings than trying to build new housing from scratch.

“To get the funding, to acquire the site, to get it set up, do the entitlement process, to get it built, to get it occupied, three, four, five years go by," said Newsom. "And at the end of the day, the pricetag in L.A. right now is about $500,000 per key, per unit."

Previously, L.A. County Supervisors have discussed in public meetings potentially aquiring four Motel 6 locations currently in use through the project.

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