SANTA MONICA— Project Roomkey, an initiative by the City of Santa Monica and the People Concern, a social service organization, has given 26 homeless individuals a place to stay in a locally owned Santa Monica motel, the Santa Monica Daily Press reported on August 13.

Project Roomkey is a collaborative initiative by California State, Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), County of Los Angeles said in their website. The project aims to secure local hotels and motels for vulnerable people for COVID-19 including homeless people. It also tries to keep local businesses open and members of our community employed during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic, with local tax revenue which benefits local cities.

Hotel or motel rooms will be given temporarily to homeless people at the age of 65 or over who are not positive for COVID-19, but are vulnerable to complications if they get infected with COVID-19. Clients must be introduced to the program by a homeless services provider, health care provider, law enforcement, or other service provider, in order to participate in Project Roomkey program.

Los Angeles County has cooperated with hotel associations and identifies hotels or motels that meet the operational needs of the program. They have contacted and explored hundreds of properties, and State, County, and private sector real estate experts are working with local hoteliers to determine interest in the program, said County of Los Angeles. Through the project, twenty six rooms were secured at the end of May and currently 10 rooms are kept through September.

There are about 985 homeless individuals in Santa Monica at one given night. In the whole LA county, the number of homeless people mounts nearly 59,000. Due to rising rents, stagnant wages, and a decreased supply of affordable housing, over 13,000 people in LA County lose their housing every month, according to the City of Santa Monica.

The most up-to-date information on the County’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through Project Roomkey can be found here.