Downtown hotel among those reimbursed for housing homeless in 2020

Riverside County supervisors on Tuesday authorized $6 million to pay nearly two dozen hotels and motels countywide that participated in the Project Roomkey program initiated in 2020 to place transients facing COVID-19 exposure risks. One was located in Palm Springs.

In a 5-0 vote without comment, the Board of Supervisors directed Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton to honor the voucher program, covering the period May to December 2020.

A total of 23 hotels and motels were listed in county documents, and the largest sum owed is $760,762, which will be distributed to the Quality Inn of Palm Springs.

“The Project Roomkey program enabled vulnerable residents to be housed during coronavirus,” according to an EMD statement posted to the board’s agenda. “Local hotels and motels also benefited from the program, as they could provide lodging while their businesses were impacted by the public health orders.”

Each hotel and motel taking part in the program was required to set flat rates for space provided to Roomkey recipients, most of whom were homeless, according to the EMD.

In some cases, the establishments provided living quarters to those infected and recovering from COVID-19, according to officials.

All the funds paid out to the hotels and motels will be drawn from federal disbursements to the county as part of fiscal relief packages.

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