Holiday Lodge, a homeless shelter in Kings County, is shutting down because federal and state funding will no longer be available due to the termination of the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration.
The closure sees the county’s lone Project Roomkey site taken offline as Kings County transitions to the California’s latest homeless shelter efforts.
The backstory: Project Roomkey began in April 2020 in the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to provide temporary housing to California’s homeless population.
- Project Roomkey provided temporary housing to 386 people in Kings County since its inception, and 95 of them successfully transitioned into permanent housing.
- Kings County residents who benefitted from Project Roomkey were initially housed at the Stardust Hotel before operations moved to Holiday Lodge to allow for construction at the Stardust Hotel.
Driving the news: With Project Roomkey’s closure, Kings County is working to transition its homeless population currently utilizing the Holiday Lodge into permanent housing.
- Kings County is working on two projects as part of Project Homekey – California’s $1.4 billion initiative that provides funding for homelessness housing and builds off of Project Roomkey.
- Construction on Triangle Courtyard is scheduled to wrap up in December, and Sunrise Apartments, which is at the location of the former Stardust Hotel, will be finished in April 2024. The projects will add 46 permanent housing units for the county’s homelessness efforts and accommodate about 70 people.
What they’re saying: Wendy Osikafo, Kings County Human Services Agency Director, said the county’s goal has always been to successfully transition Project Roomkey residents into permanent affordable housing.
- “We are working diligently with our partners to address the unique, individual needs of the handful of individuals unable to make the transition into permanent affordable housing,” Osikafo said in a statement. “Most of these individuals are eligible for enhanced community support through the State’s new CalAIM initiative, and we continue to work to connect them with support services as we wind down Project Roomkey operations.”
- Osikafo added that there is a need in Kings County for landlords willing to rent to homeless people, as well as a need for more affordable housing and an increase in new housing stock.