SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In an effort to help protect the homeless population in California from the coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order for Wednesday and authorized $150 million to help house the homeless.
The executive order grants more flexibility on spending and building shelters for homeless Californians who cannot self-quarantine or isolate. This action waives some barriers for shelters and facilities. So far, the state has purchased 1,309 shelters and leased two hotels in the Oakland area to provide 393 emergency isolation units.
The $150 million in aid for “emergency homeless actions” comes from the $500 million of emergency funding that was authorized by the legislature this week. Of the aid money for the homeless, $100 million will go directly to local governments to support shelters and emergency housing. The remaining $50 million will be used to purchase more travel trailers and lease rooms in motels, hotels, and facilities.
So far, the state has identified more than 960 hotels around the state that they could possibly lease for several months to house the homeless. The state is also helping counties contact and negotiate leases.
State models show more than 60,000 homeless people in California could get infected if they’re left out in the streets.
There are nearly 600 reported cases of coronavirus in California and 13 reported deaths, including a homeless person in Santa Clara County. The Governor said these emergency actions are being taken to help slow the spread of COVID-19 to the homeless population and prevent excess strain on the healthcare system.