Project Roomkey efforts kick off at SCV’s Super 8 hotel

A check in tent is set up at the entrance of the Super 8 Hotel in Canyon Country on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Project Roomkey, the statewide effort to procure housing for unhoused people amid the COVID-19 outbreak, has kicked off across Los Angeles County, including at the Super 8 hotel in Canyon Country. 

Operations recently kicked off at the hotel, located at 17901 Sierra Highway. On Saturday, more than 10 individuals sought occupancy and received care from firefighters and medical professionals, including from at least one registered nurse and a certified nurse assistant from a private company. The hotel has 50 rooms for occupancy under the program. 

Although information available from multiple sources indicates Super 8 is the SCV’s Project Roomkey location, county officials have said they won’t publicly release names and addresses of hotels in the program, citing concerns for a possible influx of people who don’t meet the requirements for the temporary shelter. 

Los Angeles County Lifeguard Jack Bark, left, and Andrea Rocha from Bidge, right, to Home discusses the resident check in procedures at the check in tent at the Super 8 Hotel in Canyon Country on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I am not confirming locations,” said Ahmad Chapman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. “We are not releasing the locations of the sites because these are not walkup facilities, and (LAHSA officials) don’t want providers to be overwhelmed if people start coming up.” 

The owner of Super 8 hotel said Monday he would seek a green light from the county on confirming the location’s participation in the program, but did not return phone calls by Monday afternoon. 

On Saturday, new occupants were asked health questions and had their temperatures taken, which are part of the screenings offered at Project Roomkey locations, according to Chapman. 

“The hotels themselves are administered by homeless service providers and each site is supported by nurses who conduct medical screenings, whether that be for occupants or staff,” he said. “They must get their temperature taken and are asked questions related to COVID-19.” 

A resident has her temperature checked, left, as she checks in with Registered Nurse Vana Kovalian, right, at the Super 8 Hotel in Canyon Country on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Chapman reiterated that hotel and motel rooms are for asymptomatic individuals who are vulnerable, such as people who are over 65 or have underlying health conditions. If someone is found with symptoms or has been exposed to others who have the virus, he or she would be transported to other sites designated to treat COVID-19 patients. 

The hotel is also staffed 24 hours a day with security guards “to ensure that no one who isn’t supposed to be there won’t be there and to keep an eye out on things. Occupants must also present some form of identification so security knows.” 

On Monday, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger said via Twitter that the county was “proud that 300 beds are currently available across the 5th District in the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Gabriel valleys.” 

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