It has been one week since the Santa Clarita Valley opened up a hotel for the vulnerable homeless population, and now officials are saying they are two rooms short of being at capacity.
On April 11, the Super 8 hotel on the 17000 block of Sierra Highway was fully repurposed, opening up its 48-room facility to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which then brought in the local homeless population.
“It’s a part of the program where there’s an attempt to provide 15,000 hotel rooms for the most vulnerable on the streets,” said Michael Foley, the director of the nonprofit Bridge to Home. “All the beds are kind of filling up with people who are in need.”
Bridge to Home, Foley said, is the coordinating agency for both the hotel and temporarily re-established homeless shelter at the Newhall Community Center. Between the two locations, there are 110 people receiving services.
Foley said the reason for keeping the SCV location secret in the initial stages was because the people they were bringing in were from both Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, and had been deemed the highest risk due to either age or underlying conditions, or both.
The list of people was compiled by LAHSA and the location was not shared so as to avoid those not on the list showing up and asking for services at the Super 8 hotel, Foley said.
Both couples and single people are being housed at the hotel and have been given their own room, said Foley. Bridge to Home’s contract with LAHSA for the Super 8 location is for 90 days.
During the day, the occupants of the 46 rooms, with two still remaining empty as of Saturday, watch television or take socially distanced walks around the local neighborhood, Foley said.
Everyone is under isolation, Foley said. “It’s very similar to what folks are doing right in their own houses.”
“The meals are provided by contract. LAHSA signed a contract with a food provider with the nursing agency,” said Foley. “The meals are brought and we get tons of wonderful, volunteer-based snack foods.”
Most importantly, in order to ensure that the virus does not enter the community of hotel occupants, which consists purely of highly at-risk people, nurses, social workers and firefighters, everyone is screened before entry.
“Every single person that comes gets their temperature taken,” said Foley. “I walked in right now, my temperature is going to be taken. If I leave and come back, my temperature is going to be taken.”
All in all, Foley said Project Roomkey is designed to provide those in need with services due to COVID-19.
“Most of the people are from Santa Clarita, and they try to keep it as close as possible,” said Foley. “But the goal is to house the most vulnerable and we are providing case management and direct service.”
No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within the SCV homeless population as of Saturday, Foley added.