CSAC Bulletin Article

Project Roomkey Updates and Expansion

April 23, 2020

Accompanied by Santa Clara Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Susan Ellenberg, as well as San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Governor Newsom delivered one of his daily COVID-19 updates over the weekend from a newly leased Motel 6 in Santa Clara County. This backdrop was significant as Governor Newsom announced a new statewide master lease agreement/template with Motel 6 corporate. The agreement includes 5,025 new rooms across Motel 6 locations in 19 counties, and contains language on extending the leases into the future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor also used the forum to highlight the great work of counties in this effort.When asked how the ongoing rooms would be funded, the Governor stated that the state is working on funding options and ways to support this effort into the future. CSAC will share additional details as they are known and released.

The Governor’s press release can be found here.

Orange County Successfully Defends Project Roomkey Lease

Orange County received a favorable ruling this week in its effort to move forward with a Project Roomkey lease of the Laguna Hills Inn. The county and hotel agreed to a 76-room lease for at least 90 days to shelter homeless individuals who are over 65, have underlying health conditions, and are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Similar to efforts from other cities throughout the state to block county progress, the City of Laguna Hills had requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the lease from moving forward. The city argued that placing COVID-19 positive individuals at the hotel created a “public nuisance” and that it violated the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs).

Ultimately, Orange County successfully defended the project proving the state of emergency and Governor’s Executive Order gave them the proper authority. Another hearing for a preliminary injunction will be held April 30, but Orange County can use the hotel as planned in the interim.

This ruling coupled with the Governor’s comments during his Saturday briefing are helpful for counties that are embracing this effort to protect some of California’s most vulnerable residents. There was significant concern that an unfavorable ruling in this case could have cascading effects on Project Roomkey efforts throughout the state.

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