Biden’s executive order fully reimburses LA for Project Roomkey

President’s directive targets cities and counties nationwide that house homeless in hotels

Los Angeles /
Jan.January 29, 2021 09:50 AM
President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

Los Angeles’ Project Roomkey got a big boost when President Biden signed an executive order directing the federal government to fully reimburse cities and counties for the cost of housing the homeless in hotels.

Biden’s order will 100 percent fund the “safe opening and operation” of “non-congregate shelters” — hotels — and domestic violence shelters, along with schools, child-care facilities, and other properties, the Los Angeles Times reported. Biden’s executive order expires on Sept. 30.

The government had been covering 75 percent of those costs under the Trump administration, as part of its coronavirus relief measures. A statewide program, Project Roomkey funding is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It’s unclear when FEMA will begin to cover the full cost of the hotel rooms, according to the Times.

California and Los Angeles County have largely funded Project Roomkey with those federal relief dollars.

Administered on a county basis, Project Roomkey rented hotel rooms for around 23,000 vulnerable people statewide. L.A. County was phasing out the program because of uncertainty in federal funding. In late December, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would extend Project Homekey funding, saying the federal government agreed to cover 75 percent of costs.

The state followed Project Roomkey with Project Homekey, which also allocates federal relief money. The difference is, Project Homekey buys the hotels then converts them into shelters.

California has purchased 94 hotels, tapping $750 million from federal CARES Act funds, along with another $50 million from state general revenue funds and $46 million from philanthropic contributions. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch 


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