San Mateo County is taking a number of steps to house at-risk homeless individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding bed capacity at shelters and using hotels as temporary shelter.
At the Maple Street Shelter in Redwood City, additional trailers added 20 shelter beds to the facility, according to the County. The WeHope Shelter in East Pablo Alto has expanded by 10 beds.
Along with sheltering 77 homeless clients at hotels with the aim of achieving adequate social distancing at current shelters, the County has partnered with a hotel owner and Samaritan House to secure 60 rooms for temporary housing. That hotel, being called Bayfront Station, is operated by Samaritan House. The County says it’s not identifying which hotels are participating in the program to preserve privacy for its clients.
The effort is part of Project Roomkey, a statewide initiative providing federal emergency reimbursements to local governments to establish temporary housing at hotel and motel rooms, along with meals, security, laundry and other services to support at-risk community members.
“We – and I mean all of us – are facing an unprecedented public health emergency,” said Ken Cole, director of the County’s Human Services Agency, which oversees its efforts to end homelessness. “We have an obligation to help the most vulnerable members of our community and, at the same time, do all we can to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”
Individuals eligible for emergency housing must contact one of eight Core Service Agencies in San Mateo County that, under contract with the County, provide emergency safety net assistance. Following an assessment, individuals may be placed in a homeless shelter program that could include Bayfront Station.
County Manager Mike Callagy has committed to housing all homeless individuals willing to accept shelter.
All photos of Bayfront Station courtesy of San Mateo County