San Mateo County gets $750K state grant to fund Project Roomkey initiative

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A $750,000 state grant will enable San Mateo County to sustain and increase homeless shelter capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the county announced Thursday.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) funding specifically applies to Project Roomkey, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initiative providing non-congregate shelter to high risk homeless individuals in order to prevent the spread of the virus. As part of that initiative, the County is housing homeless individuals at a local, leased hotel. The temporary shelter program, called Bayfront Station, is currently housing about 90 people.

The CDSS funds can be used to support continued operations at Bayfront Station and for expanding shelter capacity in the county at alternative locations, among other related functions. Near the onset of the pandemic, the County began moving highly vulnerable residents from local shelters into motels and hotels to promote social distancing. It then added four large trailers to serve 20 more at-risk individuals near the Maple Street Homeless Shelter. The County is also partnered with other alternative care sites to shelter individuals needing to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19 or testing positive for the virus.

“The County of San Mateo is committed to offering and expanding shelter and housing to our homeless residents who want it,” said County Manager Mike Callagy.  “We are grateful of this funding from the state to support the mission of Project Roomkey and the County’s commitment to protecting the entire community while we are required to shelter in place.”