Governor Newsom Provides Updates on Project Room Key and COVID-19

Standing outside a hotel in Pittsburg on Tuesday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom gave updates on COVID-19 and Project Room Key turning into Project Home Key.

During the press conference, Black Lives Matter protesters used a bullhorn to demand a redistribution of resources. In addition to shouting accusations that Newsom does not care about the homeless population, the protesters also ran a siren over the governor.

While Governor Newsom was speaking he focused primarily on Project Room Key, a program that began procuring hotel rooms in April to get vulnerable individuals off the streets and into a place where they can successfully socially distance. Furthermore, it provides those individuals the privilege of a lock and key and a place to call home.

Newsom said he, “Couldn’t be more proud” of the “significant milestones” the program has reached in such a short period. Since April, Project Room Key has 15,679 rooms under their portfolio and temporarily housed 14,200 individuals.

He believes Project Room Key is necessary because, “Shelters solve sleep; housing and supportive services solve homelessness.” In fact, Connecticut and Hawaii are trying to replicate this program that has 293 hotels in 52 counties.

Before coronavirus, just a few months ago if you can believe it, California was set to have a $6 billion surplus; however, due to pandemic, the state is now $54.3 billion in debt.

Newsom signed a balanced budget yesterday afternoon allowing $1.3 billion to help various cities fight COVID-19 with programs such as Project Room Key. Of the $1.3 billion, $900 million is from the state, $45 million is from Kaiser and Blue Shield and the rest of from philanthropic organizations.

Despite the difficult conditions the state is in, Newsom said they will continue to work because they, “Made a commitment to…do more and do better for homeless Californians.”

In the coming months, Project Home Key will provide a sense of permanency to those who are most vulnerable.

In regards to coronavirus, he said, “Tomorrow we’ll be making some additional announcements on efforts to use that ‘dimmer switch’ that we’ve referred to, and begin to toggle back on our stay-at-home order and tighten things up.”

Newsom said, “If you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce.”

With the fourth of July this weekend, Newsom is concerned with not only bars and restaurants, but also families gathering together and distancing correctly.

Yesterday, Newsom announced there was a 43% increase in hospitalizations and a 37% increase in ICU patients over the past two weeks. Two weeks ago there was a 4.4% positivity rate increase over a 14 days and today there has been a 5.6% positivity rate over a 14 days.

The steady increase is concerning and Newsom said the state will likely add 4 more counties to the 19 counties on the watchlist in the next 24 hours.

California COVID-19 Updates for the last 24 hours:

  • 44 people dead in 24 hours
  • 5,980 people dead in total
  • 6,367 people tested positive for COVID-19
  • 6.3% increase in hospitalizations
  • 4.3% increase in ICU

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