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California Governor Announced $150 Million in Funding to Address Pandemic Risk for the Homeless

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $150 million in emergency funding that will go towards quickly moving homeless people indoors in the effort to protect the vulnerable population and the at-risk medical system that could become overwhelmed in the coming weeks. 

$100 million in funding will go directly to local jurisdictions including Los Angeles, contributing to bolstering shelter capability and increasing emergency housing. An additional $50 million will be aimed at buying travel trailers and leasing hotels, motels, and other facilities to provide housing for those who need to be quarantined. 

“People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom said. “Helping these residents is critical to protecting public health, flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

Social distancing has become the focus of California’s strategy in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. California has the largest population of homeless in the country, with 108,000 Californians living on the street. Homeless encampments provide the perfect breeding grounds for the virus to spread unchecked. Homeless people are at a higher risk for serious cases as many live with underlying health conditions and live in areas that do have adequate hygiene facilities. 

More than 950 facilities across California have been identified as appropriate for homeless housing. Newsom has said that several properties. Including two hotels in Northern California, had been leased, providing a total of 393 rooms for potential cases. 1,300 trailers were also procured from private vendors and the federal government to provide guarantee sites that can be mobilized anywhere in the state. 

“California is deploying massive resources to get these vulnerable residents safely into shelter, removing regulatory barriers and securing trailers and hotels to provide immediate housing options for those most at risk,” Newsom said in a statement.

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