Governor Newsom Visits Project Roomkey Site in Santa Clara County to Highlight Progress on the State’s Initiative to Protect Homeless Individuals from COVID-19


State effort has secured 10,974 hotel and motel rooms and 1,133 trailers for extremely vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness, to help flatten the curve and preserve hospital capacity


State negotiated master agreement template with Motel 6 which counties can now use to access these facilities for Project Roomkey


California was the first in the nation to secure FEMA approval for 75 percent federal cost-share for this life-saving mission, creating a model for other states


SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom visited a Project Roomkey motel in Santa Clara County to highlight progress that the state and counties have made together in providing safe isolation capacity to protect people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19.

The state’s effort, Project Roomkey, has directly led to 10,974 hotel and motel rooms statewide being made available for this extremely vulnerable group of Californians.

These Project Roomkey placements are spread across 42 counties and are already providing safe shelter to people experiencing homelessness, with 4,211 rooms occupied. The counties are responsible for identifying which individuals need a Project Roomkey placement, and then moving those individuals into the rooms.

In addition, Governor Newsom announced that the State of California has reached agreement with the Motel 6 chain to make available all of its corporate-owned locations to counties, effective immediately, with a master agreement template. Counties have the option to adopt the operating agreement for the locations within their jurisdiction, if they so choose. This master agreement, if all locations are adopted, includes an additional 5,025 rooms above and beyond the total number of rooms already under county control. This portfolio includes 47 different hotels in 19 counties around the state.

“Today marks an important milestone for our efforts to protect very vulnerable homeless individuals from COVID-19, and to protect our hospitals more broadly from surges that challenge our capacity and stress our system,” said Governor Newsom. “Many of California’s counties have done a fantastic job getting Project Roomkey hotels up and running. We need to do more – and faster – of course, but there’s no doubt California is leading the way when it comes to treating our homeless population with the compassion and urgency this moment demands.”

“Motel 6 is pleased to support Governor Newsom and the State of California’s efforts to provide assistance during the pandemic, including lodging for our most vulnerable populations and first responders,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality LLC. “The partnership will streamline the process for counties across the state who have a need for additional shelter. Motel 6 was born in California in 1962, and we are proud to support the State’s effort to ‘leave a light on’ for citizens in need.”

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom announced a reimbursement partnership with FEMA, whereby local, state, and tribal governments are eligible to 75 percent cost-share for Project Roomkey activities, including hotel and motel rooms and wraparound supports such as meals, security, and custodial services.

These emergency protective measures are protecting public health by isolating the medically vulnerable, thinning out the shelter population for social distancing, slowing the rate of spread of COVID-19 and, in turn, flattening the curve.

A key component of this effort is state technical assistance to county social services agencies, cities, tribes, homeless continuums of care, and others. Specifically, the Department of Social Services has provided individualized technical assistance regarding core operating supports for the sites, how to leverage funding sources, and has facilitated convenings for service providers to develop a unified approach to addressing homelessness. The Department of General Services has also provided individualized technical assistance to help communities establish occupancy agreements with local property owners to secure emergency housing.

In addition, the Governor announced several other important milestones to support people experiencing homelessness.

Earlier this week, the state executed a master agreement with Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen. Through this partnership, counties can access this contract to provide three meals a day to clients of Project Roomkey.

The state also passed an important milestone by surpassing 1,000 travel trailers delivered to county partners. These trailers provide the same isolation capacity for people experiencing homelessness under Project Roomkey. These trailers, which now total 1,133 are spread across 13 different counties. This total includes 28 trailers donated through an anonymous donor in partnership with Homeful, a California-based nonprofit focused on eradicating homelessness.

Finally, Governor Newsom’s administration has initiated a partnership with counties and continuums of care to provide access to necessary personal protective equipment to shelter operators and other front-line homelessness workers. This partnership ensures these essential social services workers are able to receive crucial supplies, as noted in recent guidance released by the California Department of Public Health. Earlier this week, the first shipment of 27,000 N95 masks were sent to Los Angeles for use in their Project Roomkey facilities. These resources can be requested through counties’ emergency services offices.



1 Comment

  1. Al Dominguez

    Ms. Vargas ~ I’m a volunteer homeless advocate and I am an Extended Stay Hotel Affiliated Vendor & a Longtime Guest. I’ve created a “Safe Haven Hotel Room’s” Housing Concept for frontline Calif based FEMA staff and for the membership of the Owner/Operators of the Independent Truckers Association. Theses “safe-haven” hotels & SFR homes” will be staffed by selected homeless individuals, small families, couples and single parents, who can be housed, employed and empowered to help with the pandemic, by living with and supporting the “still healthy” frontline first responders, the FEMA Staff and the Truckers who deliver our food and supplies in California. Who are requesting a safe place to stay healthy, get healthy or monitor and maintain their health. Based on using the Extended Stay Hotel’s “room profile” of hotel rooms designed for extended stays with full-size kitchen’s with full size refrigerators and storage for short-term (1-30 days) or long-term (31-365 day) stays. I’ve created list of support services for providing food, symptom monitoring, holistic medical support, everything needed in case of need for a “4-day self-health check stay” or a “14-day restricted and required isolation stay”. I’ve also outlined protocols and procedures for steam sanitizing rooms, sealed for new guests, a/c, heating, ventilation, room operations, hallway containment, controlled access into and out of the hotel, and residential homes. I’d like to present this proposal to you under the Gov’s Homeless “RoomKey” Plan. As an Affiliate Vendor with the Extended Stay Hotel Chain I can book every vacant room in all of or some of the currently 78% vacant hotels that they have in California. My proposal also outlines providing “safe-haven” healthy residential homes operated specifically for FEMA Staff by selected homeless as a safe, sanitized, virus free, controlled access home for the staff to stay healthy, while helping us all stay healthy. May I send my proposal to you?


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