Project Room Key and Shelters
On March 18, 2020, the State Legislature approved and allocation of $150 million to support the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The City received approximately $1.134 million from this allocation.
In April, the Governer announced a statewide goal to secure 15,000 hotel and motel rooms to house people experiencing homelessness and to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through Project Room Key. Statewide, more than 15,600 rooms have been secured and an estimated 14,200 individuals have been served through this program, according to a press release dated June 30, 2020.
The State Funding was leveraged to launch Project Room Key and shelters for people experiencing homelessness. The City team made up of representatives from the City Manager's Office, Civil Service, Development Services, Economic Development, Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Public Works, Library, Police, Fire, and City Attorney, quickly activated the following shelters and Project Room Key.
Each person experiencing homelessness has been assessed and paired with comprehensive services and case management through the Long Beach Continuum of Care. Case managers worked in partnership with each client to establish a Life Plan (case plan) which includes linkages to Medi-CAL and Health Care (Medi-Cal/Medicare), CalFresh and mainstream services, referrals to job readiness programs (including Pacific Gateway and Goodwill), Medical/Mental Health Support, and Substance Use Services and permanent housing options. In addition, the City has subcontracted with the Guidance Center to provide a Clinician at both the congregate and non-congregate shelter sites to provide therapeutic support and augment life planning.
The City Team strategically partnered with Long Beach Unified School District and The Grand to provide three meals per day for City operated shelters. First Rate Staffing and National Guard provided staff to augment reassigned City Staff. Mynela Staffing provided registered nurses who conducted medical screenings and ongoing medical support for individuals with underlying health conditions with the Medical Reserve Corp and LBCC Nursing Students providing additional support on COVID-19 screening and wellness checks. General Security Services provided security at all city operated locations. Pacific Gateway co-located staff at Silverado to provide supportive services and linkage to employment opportunities yielding seven (7) successful employment placements. The Garden Church provided volunteers who collected donations to provide daily coffee and snacks, catered meals on Thursday evenings and laundry days for shelter participants. Transparent LLC sponsored dinners at Silverado on Thursday. The EOC Donation Center at Cesar Chavez Park managed donations to provide for immediate needs of clothing, hygiene kits, books, puzzles and activities.
Project Room Key provided a safe place for 65yrs+ individuals and people with underlying health conditions; a total of 226 people have been served to date. The project created nearly an additional 100 local jobs, contracts with seven local vendors, and generated and estimated $1,569,978 in funding of which 75% is reimbursable by FEMA, the remaining 25% will be covered by the aforementioned State Funding.