A leading Los Angeles business group wants the city to substantially expand Project Roomkey, a federally-funded program that houses the homeless in hotels.
The L.A. Business Council made the request in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council, saying the city should rent 15,000 more rooms through the program, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The group represents around 500 businesses citywide.
The state began implementing the program last March during the first wave of the pandemic.
“Opportunities like this don’t come along often,” the Business Council said in its letter. “We must take full advantage of it.”
Around 67,000 people were living unsheltered within L.A. city limits as January 2020. The economic fallout of the pandemic has likely put more people on the streets, and more people at risk of becoming homeless and contracting the virus.
The statewide successor program, Project Homekey, buys hotels and converts them to semi-permanent interim housing. Project Homekey has largely been seen as a success — as of early January, the program had paid for 6,000 units of housing statewide, including 1,800 in L.A. County.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he wants to earmark $750 million in the upcoming state budget to continue and expand Project Homekey.
[LADN] — Dennis Lynch