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Homekey: Transforming California Hotels And Motels Into Permanent Homeless Housing

Homelessness is an issue impacting every community across California — urban, rural, coastal and inland. Several efforts and initiatives are underway to innovate how to effectively tackle this issue. One such transformative effort is Homekey.  

In April 2021, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic brought California, the nation, and the world to a halt, the Administration of Governor Gavin Newsom took action to help safeguard individuals experiencing homelessness from exposure. They launched Project Roomkey, a medical mission to temporarily bring homeless Californians in from the streets into vacant hotels and motels. 

Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding is being made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing. Of the $600 million in Homekey grant funds, $550 million is derived from the State’s direct allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds, and $50 million is derived from the State’s General Fund.

This policy solution is now a national model.

Learn more: https://www.bcsh.ca.gov/homekey/

KCRW: Faster, cheaper: How California is revolutionizing homeless housing — and why it might not last