Orange County officials held a press conference today addressing the use of a $16 million contract to help Orange County’s homeless population during Covid-19. The press conference followed in regards to last weeks initiative launched by Governor Newsom called ‘Project Roomkey.’
Project Roomkey will focus on communities with a significant homeless population and high reports of Covid-19 transmission.
Orange County’s $16 million contract is directed in procuring four hotels, three sprung structures and the use of Joplin Youth Facility in Trabuco Canyon.
Orange County’s contracts with hotels and motels are three months long with price depending on the site size and other factors. The management of the facilities is contracted to the Illumination Foundation.
The Illumination Foundation will be responsible for coverage of all sites, nurses, night supervision and 24/7 security.
OC Shelter Sites
Director of Care Coordination Jason Austin said that sites in Stanton, Orange and regional parks were being considered.
“We’re looking at the Southern part of the county. There are 10 facilities within regional park structures as well as hotel sites in the City of Orange. The City of Stanton signed an agreement recently and we’re looking at other locations as well,” Jason Austin said.
A 127 room temporary isolation shelter was set-up and started receiving referrals from county shelters on April third. Spring shelters are expected to be up and running by the first week of May.
“The first site in Orange got their first referral on Saturday and are processing more today and expect more in next few hours,” Mr. Austin said.
County Executive Officer Frank Kim weighed in saying that the county is currently negotiating multiple hotel leases and have placed orders already for the sprung structures.
“I think we’re all aware there are many motels that are struggling. I think there will be more opportunities that present itself. Based on need we will acquire as many hotels as necessary,” Mr. Kim said.
The county is continuing to look for available sites along with hotels and motels.
District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said, “Every location is being considered. I know we are asking all of you to put your trust and security in the county’s hands and I’m telling you right now this is the only way to do it.”
Ayres Hotel in Laguna Woods had entered into contract with the County and backed out on Sunday. Currently there is only one secured hotel lease for ‘Project Roomkey’ in Orange County.