(Erin Baldassari, KQED) In the span of nine days, public health officials in Alameda County went from negotiating a lease agreement with a hotelier in Oakland to housing their first guest on March 25 — a resident experiencing homelessness who was showing symptoms of COVID-19.
And on Wednesday, officials opened a second hotel in Oakland for homeless people who are considered at high-risk of complications if they contract the virus. They were the first two hotels leased under a state plan to provide a total of 15,000 hotel and motel rooms across California to address the coronavirus outbreak among homeless communities.
“While it’s true it took about nine or 10 days to bring the hotels on, they were 18-hour days,” said Kerry Abbott, director of the county’s Office of Homeless Care and Coordination.
It’s the kind of effort Gov. Gavin Newsom says can’t come soon enough, especially in light of the death of a homeless man in Santa Clara County last month and 14 confirmed cases of homeless people contracting the virus across the state – including one reported Thursday in San Francisco.
On Friday, Newsom announced the state had finalized leases for nearly 7,000 hotel and motel rooms throughout the state with an eventual goal of 15,000 rooms. As of Wednesday, San Francisco had around 1,000 hotel rooms available and had placed people in 123 of them. Santa Clara County has 172 Read more >>