California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Project Roomkey this week, which offers hotel rooms that are empty due to the COVID-19 outbreak to be used as a shelter for California’s homeless residents. This is an excellent idea if it is taken care of properly. They even teamed up with Motel 6, and public-private partnership is almost always a good thing. Except there are a few significant issues with the plan, regardless of how great it seems at first glance.
First, proper communication from the state of California must occur, so that people are aware that these hotel rooms are available for shelter. In a recent video filmed by Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell, he interviews people living on Skid Row, one of the hubs of homeless residents in Los Angeles. Many were not sure what COVID-19 was, and did not know that hotel rooms were available for them to stay in. Which bears the question, how does an area packed with homeless residents have no clue about a program intended to serve the homeless? The state of California has been sloppy at best with communicating, even to Los Angeles, which contains about ⅓ of California’s homeless residents. Although the rooms are available, most people likely don’t know about them.
MUST WATCH: Gianno Caldwell interviews the homeless in the infamous Los Angeles Skid Row area on how they are staying safe amid the coronavirus. Watch their shocking responses. pic.twitter.com/5SbKftQmp6
— Gianno Caldwell (@GiannoCaldwell) April 22, 2020
Another significant issue is the maintenance that may go along with homeless residents staying in these rooms. Although a small fraction of the homeless population has simply fallen on hard times, the vast majority suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues. With that said, how are these hotels going to make sure that these rooms stay clean and hotel property is not stolen? Yes, I understand it might not sound like the nicest thing to speculate about the possible problems with sheltering homeless residents in hotel rooms, but it needs to be considered, especially for the government employees and hotel staff that have to handle the situation first-hand. Hotel rooms are a great solution for those who are not suffering from any problems besides the basic principle of not having anywhere to live, but that is not the kind of individual who these hotels are mainly going to be dealing with.
Overall, Newsom and the state government are missing the point: the biggest issue with homelessness in California is not the lack of housing, it is the lack of mental health resources and soft on crime policies! Unfortunately, the state is preoccupied with COVID-19, so it is not the right time to develop solutions to the homeless crisis, despite it being long overdue. So, why doesn’t the state try more immediate and effective solutions to stop the potential spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population? How about distributing face coverings, hand sanitizer, and other essential products that people can use and can easily be given out? We know California has the funds, we just gave $75 million in taxpayer money to fund illegal immigrants so they can receive money during this time. But for some reason, we can’t give that money to those suffering from homelessness, many of which are citizens and even veterans?
Creating empty solutions, while ignoring the root cause, is not going to solve the homeless problem in California. Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have held office long enough to develop bold strategies to solve this crisis. If the Democrats are the self-anointed humanitarian warriors, then why are they ignoring the humanitarian crisis right under their noses? All they have done is brush it off. Not only is it inconsiderate to people who are in desperate need of help, but it is also dehumanizing.
Photo source: NBC San Diego