Gov. Newsom attempts to fix California's 'failure' to address homelessness with buying motel rooms

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday spoke in Pittsburg, Calif., saying that he has long wanted to remedy California's "failure" in addressing homelessness with a new initiative called "Project Home Key."

Despite filling a $54 billion budget gap next year, the state was able to carve out $1.3 billion for homelessness, Newsom said.

That includes $550 million for buying - not leasing - motels such as the one he was standing in front of in Pittsburg, where 164 people were living in 131 rooms.


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Project Homekey is now the new name for what had been called, Project Roomkey, first launched in April.

That effort, launched a couple of weeks after the coronavirus outbreak, was put into action in order to get homeless people off the streets and into safer living conditions with roofs over their heads and bathrooms in which to wash. 

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To date, Newsom said that 14,200 unsheltered people have been able to leave the streets, or their cars, or their friend's houses, out of a total of 15,679 rooms available. 

"We have not taken our eye off the ball when it comes to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable," he said. 

The governor also said that more restrictions likely will be announced Wednesday on indoor gatherings, and events that will revolve around family parties and July 4. 

“We’ll start looking at the health orders and health directives in the counties," he said, "in relation to indoor versus outdoor activities.”

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