California has at least 151,278 individuals who were homeless as per the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in December 2019. But with the advent of COVID-19, the number of shelterless people has gone up considerably due to social distancing orders.
At least 7000 people found without shelters, where it was not possible to practice social distancing and were taken to hotels for quarantining. California Governor Gavin Newsom had directed officials concerned to make arrangements to shield vulnerable homeless people.
But the biggest problem is space constraint and there are not enough hotels to accommodate all homeless people and put them into quarantine in the state. Local officials even expressed that the process of providing accommodation was complicated as it also included negotiating leases and getting staffers.
When compared to California where hundreds of thousands are on streets, only 3,500 people live on streets in New York city, say reports. San Francisco has more than 8000 homeless people and the authorities have moved at least 1,000 into hotel rooms, whereas non-profit organizations raised some money and have helped others get appropriate rooms.
New Budget Allocation
Governor Newsome had made an announcement in this regard in March itself and said that at least 15,000 federal rooms will be paid by the federal funding. But the fact is that Los Angeles County itself has 60,000 homeless people and it has been an upheaval task of providing accommodation to all, which is still under process.
In his new budget declaration, Newson proposed to spend $750 million in federal stimulus funding to buy some of the hotels with an aim to permanently provide shelter to the homeless. Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay 75 percent of the cost of Project Roomkey that provides for senior citizens who are homeless.
Through Project Roomkey California state, county and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) aims at securing hotels and motel rooms to provide accommodation for the vulnerable homeless people.
Currently, California has 78,839 cases and reported 3,261 deaths. Among these Los Angeles County has the highest cases of 37,974 and reported 1,821 deaths. San Diego County has 5,836 confirmed cases and reported 209 deaths; Riverside County has 5,618 cases and 242 deaths; Orange County has 4,376 confirmed cases and reported 88 deaths. San Bernardino County has 3,511 confirmed cases and 155 deaths.