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Project Roomkey Providing Jobs, Housing And Hope To L.A.’s Unhoused

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Homeless encampments on Skid Row, photographed on June 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (James Bernal for KPCC)
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Project Roomkey is providing shelter for the most medically vulnerable of California’s homeless population, and some sites are also providing jobs for unhoused state residents.

One such employee is Mureithi Davis, who works full-time as a guest service attendant at a Project Roomkey site. He runs errands for people staying at the facility, and even helps out when he’s off the clock.

“I can definitely have all kinds of empathy because I’ve experienced the housing issue,” said Davis. “I know the uncertainty, and even the stress.”

Davis got the job through Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless people find work. Mark Loranger, the president of Chrysalis, says the company has employed more than 120 homeless clients at Project Roomkey sites through a contract with the city of L.A.

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“Not only do programs like ours help folks get out of bad situations, but [they] also prevent folks from becoming homeless in the first place,” Loranger said.

For Davis, the job is offering not just income, but economic empowerment.

“Excuse me for getting a little choked up,” he said. “But it's really been a life-changing experience, to get things back on track.”