Project Roomkey: Continuing to Address the Coronavirus

LAHSA is continuing to monitor the developments related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 
As of today, Public Health has identified 36,259 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 1,755 deaths. 261 of the positive cases of COIVD-19 are among people experiencing homelessness. 
Below is an update on LAHSA's efforts:
Project Roomkey
  • As of this morning they have 26 Hotel/Motel sites online totaling 2,588 beds.
  • They are serving 2,067 people in these sites, with more moving in today. 
  • They are seeking homeless service providers for Project Roomkey. Applicants must be certified as qualified bidders for receiving Los Angeles General Funds, County of Los Angeles General Funds, or Measure H Funds. Find out more on their website.
  • On Wednesday, US District Court Judge David Carter visited the Skid Row pop-up COVID testing site, and bumped into a LAHSA Homeless Engagement Team and their Skid Row Manager. The team reviewed the Skid Row unsheltered COVID strategy with Judge Carter, which includes regular wellness assessments, COVID testing, COVID prevention education, distribution of PPE, distribution of meals, decompression of shelters, decompression of the sidewalks through placements at Rec and Parks and Project RoomKey sites, the rapid triage and transportation to Quarantine / Isolation sites for symptomatic and COVID-positive individuals, and developing individual strategies to support sheltering in place for folks who are unable or unwilling to go to a Q/I site. By the end of the conversation, he was effusive with his praise of our efforts and insisted on taking pictures with the team. 
  • Food for the Soul: Distributing 5,000 meals daily: As many meal programs for people experiencing homelessness have closed or been curtailed during the pandemic, food insecurity for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness has been widespread. Thanks to World Central Kitchen (WCK), LAHSA is now are providing 5,000 meals Monday through Friday to unsheltered neighbors via their amazing outreach teams (Photos attached).  
  • In close collaboration with the Department of Health Services and LAHSA HET leadership, the LAHSA CES Outreach Coordination team developed the first ever SPA-wide daily food distribution network, ensuring that the 200 countywide outreach teams could easily access and deliver these meals daily.  
  • Since April 30, 35,000 healthy meals have been delivered across all 8 SPAs to their outreach clients. 
  • Thank you to everyone who's volunteered to help distribute. And a special shoutout to the Department of Health Services for making this partnership with WCK come to fruition!  
Resources, Policies, Staffing, Supplies, and Support
  • The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) is using virtual outreach strategies to promote its annual CalFresh Awareness Month campaign and help more people enroll. April 2020, according to data received from the State, DPSS received 126,875 CalFresh applications, which is a 179% increase in comparison to April 2019. CalFresh is known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The Department encourages customers to apply for benefits online at
  • On Tuesday, May 12, House Democrats introduced H.R. 6800, “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act),” the latest round of federal relief and the largest stimulus package to date. The $3 trillion proposal is expected to be voted on in the House on Friday, May 15. LAHSA will continue to track the progress of this and provide updates. The cornerstones of the package are:
  • $875 billion allocation for local and state governments to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic;
  • A second round of $1,200 Economic Impact Payments for eligible households; and 
  • Key homelessness and housing provisions.
  • LAHSA continues to work with City, County and provider partners to bring testing and other COVID resources to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, while sharing lessons learned and best practices with our federal partners.
  • On Wednesday, David Canavan of HUD brought representatives from the Centers for Disease Control to meet with LAHSA staff and outreach partners in the field as part of their three-week effort in Los Angeles to observe the conditions for people experiencing homelessness as they relate to COVID-19, and develop a set of recommendations to limit infection, including contact tracing protocols for people living in encampments. CDC officials stated of this effort: “Thank you to all the dedicated professionals we met today. Your commitment to the community is noteworthy; it was a truly an honor…Thank you for letting us join. You’re all doing great work in the community.” 
  • In recognition of COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, the COVID-19 Racial Equity Resource Guide has been developed to underscore the importance of providers’ efforts to counter structural inequities and remove implicit bias as they work to provide equitable access to vital resources in this crisis. Several of the key practices highlighted here align with the guidance summarized above (see “How to Review Caseload,” and “Revisions to Assessment”).  

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