CALIFORNIA— On June 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s Project Roomkey initiative to protect the homeless from the spread of coronavirus successfully housed 14,200 people since its launch three months ago.

Project Roomkey secures hotel and motel rooms for people experiencing homelessness. The mission is to protect high-risk individuals and stop the spread of the virus. L.A. County’s website also states that this project helps protect capacity in healthcare systems and “is keeping local businesses open and members of our community employed, with local tax revenue benefiting local cities.”

Governor Newsom renamed the initiative to “Project Homekey” to make the program seem more permanent. The initial investment into the project was $150 million, but Newsom announced on June 30 that an addition of more than a billion dollars from the state budget will be allocated to support the project.

“We were able to sign a balanced budget yesterday, but it did the following,” said Governor Newsom. “It provided an additional $1.3 billion to cities and to counties to support programs like this.”

$550 million will be set aside to buy properties and $350 million will be dedicated to transitioning people from the streets into their designated properties. Clients for the program are identified by homeless service providers. These providers focus on identifying clients in areas near their Project Homekey site.

Newsom stated that almost 300 hotels and motels in 52 California counties are participating in Project Homekey. A total of 15,679 rooms have been secured for the program, with 14,200 individuals able to be housed in three months.