By: Ana Marie Torrea
July 22, 2020 —
CALIFORNIA – Project Roomkey was California’s plan of putting homeless showing signs of coronavirus into hotels. The state now looking to make the transition to shelter permanent through Project Homekey
The state is offering $600 million dollars in grants to cities and counties to help the homeless find permanent housing during the pandemic. The state set aside $17 million dollars for smaller areas like Shasta County.
“We definitely are aware of it and we have a team looking into it,” said Matt Pontes, County Executive Officer for Shasta County.
Back in June, the state launched Project Roomkey, which gave homeless people a place to stay during the pandemic.
“Project Roomkey has been very helpful,” said Donnell Ewert the director of the Shasta Health and Human Services Agency.
“We’ve been able to use it for several purposes, one is to isolate and quarantine homeless individuals.”
But the coronavirus keeps coming and the homeless population still remains at high risk.
“I think it’s important that they can become separated,” said Bob Cyphers of Fremont.
The California Department of Housing and Community development is overseeing Project Homekey. The department says it will be the largest housing expansion to help people who are homeless and vulnerable.
People tell Action News Now they’re all for a permanent solution but want to see more done, which can help them get back on their feet.
“A stable housing situation is great,” said Kathi Cyphers from Fremont. “But I would like a component of teaching them skills so that get themselves out of homelessness.”
“With COVID-19 it’s very uncertain and a lot of people have a lot of anxiousness and fear,” said Justin Wandro, Development Director with the Good News Rescue Mission.
“Having somewhere that’s their home, and having a place for them will go a long way to helping them overcome that anxiety.”
Of the $600 million, $550 million comes from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, while the other $50 million comes from the state’s general fund.
Shasta County received close to $400,000 dollars in Project Roomkey funding.
This article courtesy of CBS 12 Action News
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