Launched by the State of California in August 2020, Homekey is a program that provides local jurisdictions with funding to acquire and/or develop properties to house people experiencing homelessness who have been affected by the pandemic.
With Homekey, thousands of units have been added to the state’s interim and permanent housing inventory in record time and for a fraction of the usual cost, prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to call it the fastest, largest, most cost-effective addition of housing in California history.
The first round of Homekey funding enabled Los Angeles County to purchase 10 hotels and motels which are now serving as homes or shelters for about 1,000 men, women and children considered particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. By mid-2023, all of those units will have been converted into permanent housing with a range of supportive services.
The Homeless Initiative is applying for other rounds of Homekey funding to acquire additional properties to convert into either interim or permanent housing.
Project Roomkey was a first-in-the-nation effort to provide hotel and motel rooms to elderly and medically fragile individuals and couples experiencing homelessness who were considered at high risk of complications if infected with COVID-19.
Launched in April 2020, Project Roomkey was a collaborative effort among the federal and state governments, Los Angeles County, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) that not only provided temporary shelter to thousands of unhoused people countywide but also enabled about 30 hotels and motels to stay in business despite the economic downturn.
As Project Roomkey sites close, participants are matched to rental subsidies and connected to permanent housing as well as a range of supportive services. If none are immediately available, participants are placed in other temporary housing until they can be permanently housed. According to LAHSA, fewer than 5 percent of participants went back to living on the streets after exiting Project Roomkey.