Newsom Administration Announces Project Roomkey, Secures 75 Percent FEMA Reimbursement

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of Project Roomkey, an initiative to isolate and shelter certain individuals experiencing homelessness amid the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. In an attempt to protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19, Governor Newsom indicated California is the first state in the U.S. to secure FEMA approval to procure hotels and motels for high-risk individuals experiencing homelessness, including those who are asymptomatic, over age 65, and/or who have underlying health conditions. Individuals experiencing homelessness who have been exposed to COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization and individuals experiencing homelessness who are COVID-19 positive are also eligible for sheltering under Project Roomkey.

Under the project, state and local governments will receive up to 75 percent cost-share reimbursement from FEMA for hotel and motel rooms, including wraparound supports such as meals, security, and custodial services. The State has indicated it will provide dedicated support teams to counties, including assistance in identifying hotels, negotiating and executing operating agreements, and providing local providers technical assistance in documenting for federal reimbursement. The first phase of Project Roomkey aims to procure 15,000 rooms for purposes of providing individual isolation capacity to homeless individuals. As of today, the state has secured 6,867 hotel and motel rooms; 869 individuals have been sheltered so far.

Additional information on Project Roomkey is available from the Governor’s website here.