Project Roomkey Project Roomkey

Project Roomkey

This innovative initiative in California was designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the state's unhoused residents.

Protecting Unhoused Californians During a Crisis

Project Roomkey

Governor Gavin Newsom established Project Roomkey in early 2020 in response to the pandemic. Under Project Roomkey, the state converted hotel and motel rooms into housing for individuals experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. This first-of-its-kind initiative served a dual purpose: to provide temporary support to California's unhoused residents and to offer economic relief to the state's hospitality industry, which has been particularly affected by the pandemic's resulting economic crisis.

In Los Angeles, Project Roomkey operated as a collaboration between the state government, Los Angeles County, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Converted hotels and motels were made available for three-month stays to residents referred by service providers and outreach workers embedded in the community. Once placed in these rooms, residents were offered services including three meals a day and medical monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. A second phase of Project Roomkey — known as Project Roomkey and Rehousing Strategy — commenced in late 2020, adding support for permanent transitions to safe and stable housing.

GRoW Support


COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Response, California Community Foundation's City of Santa Monica Fund