Governor Newsom Takes Emergency Actions & Authorizes $150 Million in Funding to Protect Homeless Californians from COVID-19

California is working across government to get homeless Californians – among the most vulnerable to spread of COVID-19 – safely into shelter & housing 

Governor signed executive order granting local flexibility on spending and building shelters

State purchased 1,309 trailers and leased first two hotels to provide emergency isolation units for homeless individuals 

 

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today took a series of significant, additional actions to protect Californians experiencing homelessness from COVID-19. The State of California is providing emergency aid to local governments and implementing emergency protective measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among this particularly vulnerable population, many of whom have no option to self-quarantine or isolate.

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

Today’s actions include: 

  • Emergency Funding: Governor Newsom directed the first allocation of the $500 million in emergency funding recently authorized by the Legislature for COVID-19 related activities – $150 million for local emergency homelessness actions. To deploy this first funding allocation, the state will provide: 
    • $100 million directly to local governments, for shelter support and emergency housing to address COVID-19 among the homeless population, and 
    • $50 million to purchase travel trailers and lease rooms in hotels, motels, and other facilities in partnership with counties and cities to provide immediate isolation placements throughout the state for homeless individuals.

 

  • Executive Order for Local Flexibility: Governor Newsom signed an executive order providing flexibility to local governments to spend their emergency homelessness funding on immediate solutions tailored to combatting COVID-19 and its impacts on the homeless population. The Governor also waived certain regulatory barriers for any shelters or facilities built with this emergency funding. 

 

  • Public Health Guidance for Homeless Shelters: The California Health & Human Services Agency issued official public health guidance to homeless service providers statewide about social distancing measures in shelters, access to hygiene supplies, health screening protocols, and isolation protocols for people with COVID-19 or those demonstrating symptoms. That guidance is available here.

 

  • Purchasing Trailers: The state is immediately procuring 1,309 travel trailers from FEMA and private vendors to provide quarantine capacity – moving people out of shelters and into isolation placements, focused on people with COVID-19 or those demonstrating symptoms. The purposes of this emergency protective measure is to protect healthy people in those facilities and create capacity in the existing shelter network. These trailers will be deployed to California’s largest population centers.

 

  • Leasing Hotels & Motels, in Partnership with Counties: The state provided California’s counties with tailored lists of hotels and motels that are potentially available to lease for the next several months. The state is also offering to contact hotels and negotiate leases, if a county requests that assistance. In total, the state has identified over 950 hotels across 53 counties that are potentially eligible for participation in the state’s leasing program. The state and counties have already begun outreach to these hotels and motels now, and when we identify a willing partner, we initiate lease negotiations with the owner. 

 

  • First Hotel Leases: Yesterday, the state executed hotel leases for the first two properties and is transferring control to Alameda County. This includes a total of 393 rooms in Oakland. These rooms will be put to use as emergency protective measures by the local governments as isolation capacity for homeless individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic, or otherwise at significant risk. 

Unsheltered people living on the streets and those living in large shelter settings are particularly susceptible to COVID-19. The state has previously issued guidance that people 65 years of age and older and those with underlying medical conditions are particularly susceptible to having serious health impacts as a result of the virus, including higher mortality rates. 

On Monday, the Governor issued an executive order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19. This order was in part a preventative measure to ensure that low-income Californians do not lose a safe roof over their head as a result of an eviction related to a loss of income or sickness due to COVID-19. The Governor hopes to see other local efforts to protect renters, low-income homeowners, and small businesses, following the leadership of local jurisdictions such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose, which have already implemented or are working towards local measures. 

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Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, the Winter Storms of 2017, the Tubbs Fire, the Thomas Fire, the Carr Fire, the Camp Fire, and the Ridgecrest Earthquake. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

36 thoughts on “Governor Newsom Takes Emergency Actions & Authorizes $150 Million in Funding to Protect Homeless Californians from COVID-19

  • March 18, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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    I want to thank you, Governor Newsom, for implementing this plan to house our homeless population in California. I know there will negative comments, but we as a people are supposed to help the displaced and hungry who are in need of shelter. May God Bless You.

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    • March 23, 2020 at 6:17 pm
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      Have tried calling 211, research all emergency websites for ventura to stay up todate on getting help to protect and house homeless but keep hitting a dead in. I keep reading about the executive order signed and that funding is available for the city of oxnard and ventura at hotels specifically to help the homeless community. Where does one actually apply or directly get that help? I helped a friend with the HHAP ONLINE APPLICATION via the bcsh.ca.gov. website and when I called 211 to inquire more the said a certificate of homlessness would be required. One step at a time I guess…..its crazy how many hoops the homeless have to jump to get any sort of help. Most of them have no form of ID, social, mailing address or reliable source of transportation yet so mich is expected from them just to get help. Can some one please provide any info or an easier and more direct way to get immidate answers and assistance. As Sherriff Bill Ayub stated in the press release Friday, March 20, “These are responsibilities shared by all of us throughout the county to do our part to help each other on a societal level.” and “We will get through these difficult times and come out stronger if we work together as a team and follow the guidance of our community leaders.”

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      • March 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm
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        I so agree with you. I have a friend who is homeless and nobody will help him. But Ventura county is doing if you’re 65 and older and have underlying illness, you will get motel. My friend is 56 and don’t have anything. So they won’t help him. Ventura county sucks for homeless people. Nothing gets done here

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        • March 24, 2020 at 9:43 am
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          Im sorry to hear that Rachel. Its frustrating when they say helping “homeless” when they are targetting only a specific age group or the sick that are medically documented. What about those who have no recorded documentation of being sick or have a severe illness or disability? Are they not considered high risk? The current stats of California’s highest age group of confirmed cases is age group 45-64 being 15 cases followed by ages 65+ with 9. Cases and then ages 25-44 with 7 cases. With that said I couldnt understand why your friemd wouldnt be considered high risk or a priority. I would think Ventura County Area Agency on Aging would be the ones to cover the seniors 65+ and disabled and the homeless services would cover ALL HOMELESS regardless of age and medical history.

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          • March 24, 2020 at 9:59 am
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            I agree 💯% with you. But that’s how Ventura county is.

          • April 4, 2020 at 1:44 am
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            To me its pretty obvious they only take the 65 and older so as not look bad in the public eye and then only people who test positive to protect themselves from the homeless. Preventing the homeless from getting sick proactively is not going to happen regardless of the state funding them to do it. Politics does not know compassion nor has it ever been or will be homeless. The human condition is as a great philosopher once said ” laws are made to protect the law makers’ not the homeless who have no numbers at the voting box or bank.

          • April 4, 2020 at 7:02 am
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            My friend is homeless with no underlying illness. He doesn’t have a place to go. I’m scared for him. It’s not fair you have to be 65 and have illness to get in a motel. It should be EVERYONE right now. In Simi valley, we have vacant buildings to put them in. Away from general public. But they won’t put them in there. City council rather them just “fade away” before helping. I’m sick at my town doing this. Our Samaritan center just got $4700.00 for help. That’s fine to do something NOW!! But nothing is being done!! I pray every night 🙏 my friend (and others) will be safe and healthy through this. I’ve complained to City council, the mayor, etc. All they keep saying is…”we’re talking about it”. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT? I’ve been dealing with this since December of 2019. I’m ashamed of Simi valley!!

      • March 30, 2020 at 5:59 pm
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        Did you ever figure how a homeless person gets shelter during the pandemic?

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        • March 31, 2020 at 7:23 am
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          I’m having same problems in Simi valley CA. Ventura county talks about doing things for homeless people. But they DON’T do anything. I have a friend who is homeless and I’m worried about him outside during this time. I contacted my councilwoman and she said they’re TALKING about the homeless people here. What’s there to talk about? You get them shelters now. They’ve been talking for 4 years, not doing action!! I’m waiting to see if they actually put homeless in motels. Motels here are not full. They have room. But won’t do anything!! It makes me very mad!!

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  • March 18, 2020 at 9:13 pm
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    This is certainly a humane action!
    However, please also move forward and provide assistance for those who lost wages due to the lock down.

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    • March 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm
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      What are you doing for homeless in Ventura county? Nothing is being done!! We have homeless here too. Please answer me back. I need to know. Our mayor mashburn isn’t doing anything!!!

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      • March 21, 2020 at 9:02 pm
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        So I hear about the order but now who do i contact about being housed for my health and safety? I dont see the name of anyone or any phone numbers to call.

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        • April 2, 2020 at 2:06 pm
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          Same here homeless worried my dad is 83 yrs myself 54

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    • March 22, 2020 at 11:36 pm
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      I havent seen any help yet. i live in an encampment in santa paula california. nobody has even came out here to check. i have a full time job and pay taxes. im the one who is telling the homeless whats going on. they had no idea. you would think in this small town that has both police and sheriffs, that somebody would be here. i doubt any help will come. the help we have is only for the people who don’t deserve it. no handwashing stations all the bathrooms around town are closed to the public. our shelter here doesnt help either. they should have sent a rep out here.

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  • March 18, 2020 at 9:34 pm
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    Grateful to know someone in Public office is actually concerned. Due to circumstances at hand , being single mom. Self employed owning my own business in the city i grew up, which financially has grown increasingly expensive. We’re hanging on as it is. I have a Salon which we had to close down. So grateful to still be in business, most likely I will need a business loan or unemployment. Thank you, Governor 🙏Good luck to us all Xx Kelly Handley

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    • March 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm
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      What are you doing for homeless in Ventura county? Nothing is being done!! We have homeless here too. Please answer me back. I need to know. Our mayor mashburn isn’t doing anything!!!

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      • March 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm
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        I have a family member homeless in Ojai. What services are currently available? Her ID and wallet have been stolen.

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  • March 22, 2020 at 8:56 am
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    Please I need information on the shelters that are supposed to be here for the homeless. I have a family member that is homeless and they need shelter. What are the motels/shelters in Ventura? Any info would be great. I’m worried for there health. He has underlying medical condition. So I cannot wait weeks to hear back.

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    • March 22, 2020 at 11:20 am
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      I’m in the Same situation in Simi valley. Governor doesn’t do anything for homeless here. Our mayor doesn’t do anything either.
      Hope you hear news soon. Stay safe.

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    • March 31, 2020 at 1:12 am
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      I have called 211 I have called human services agency and all I gets is the run around. Where is the help they say they’re giving? Why are they reporting that but I can’t find info?

      Reply
  • March 23, 2020 at 8:49 am
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    obviously no answer. i hate to say it but after reading about all the people that were at the beaches yesterday acting like we arent in a crisis makes me glad that i am out here homeless staying away from ignorant people. people wake up its because of you were gonna die. u 2 will be homeless. be careful

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  • March 23, 2020 at 9:11 pm
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    I am homeless awaiting ventura county to do the paperwork so I can move into an apartment. One would think they’d hurry it up, a week to do a background check! When in the last four months two checks were run. I don’t understand this attitude of carelessness. My part is done its been a week and two days, yet I’m told it will be another week! Whats wrong with this county and how it treats the homeless. Id like to know what motels I can go to in the mean time also.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm
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    I live in Dixon California I’ve been a resident here for the most part of 40-plus years but I’m on social security disability and can no longer rent an apartment by myself I’m on social security disability I’m 55% disabled and on top of that now this happens I live in my truck I need a place to shower why can’t Dixon open something up for the homeless it can be sanitized they can be watched why are we being ignored stand up for people in that are down and out not all homeless are drug addicts and such some of us are just down on our luck I still vote I still care can I help where I can why can’t Dixon do that for us

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    • March 24, 2020 at 6:01 pm
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      I hear you in Simi valley CA. We are in the same position. Our mayor here doesn’t do anything for homeless people. The governor says he’s doing things. No he isn’t. Only people that have illness and is 65 get motel rooms. I am not 65. But I’m homeless. I’m scared for my health. In our town, there’s alot of empty buildings. The homeless can stay there til this blows over. But nothing is getting done. I feel you in Dixon. We are in the same boat here. God bless you and stay safe 🙏

      Reply
      • March 28, 2020 at 8:59 pm
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        well still homeless still nobody has came to offer anything to this santa paula encampment. on the 16th they went to another encampment here but left us out here with nothing. nobody has came here at all to check on anybody. why not? bring us hand washing stations portable showers portable bathrooms. we are better off out here away from everybody. we need help also.

        Reply
  • March 28, 2020 at 8:59 pm
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    well still homeless still nobody has came to offer anything to this santa paula encampment. on the 16th they went to another encampment here but left us out here with nothing. nobody has came here at all to check on anybody. why not? bring us hand washing stations portable showers portable bathrooms. we are better off out here away from everybody. we need help also.

    Reply
  • March 29, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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    I have a trailer in my back yard which would be fine to house somebody. I have friends that are homeless I would like to offer it to. But, the city zoning forbids me from doing this and I will be facing fines and bureaucracy if I let them stay in it.
    The city should suspend the ordinance forbidding sleeping in a trailer until this is over. It would cost them nothing and probably save lives. I think the city leaders would rather just see the homeless die off and relieve them of this problem.

    Reply
    • March 29, 2020 at 1:03 pm
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      I agree that it would help homeless people. Where are you located at? What is the fines you talking about? I never heard of it. I have friends who are homeless too. That’s why I started this conversation….

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      • March 29, 2020 at 5:23 pm
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        Honestly thats what the homeless keep say. I have a friend who tool pictures with her phine at the Ventura Vagabond wherr they say they are temporarily houing the homeless. She said it was empt just as a few others have also told me. The hotel is fenced off and there is empty tents out front with empty tables. A security out front that tella everyone to call 211. So far as of today venturas homeless have not been assisted with the proper guidance on where to get help. They are an important past of our counities well being. Regardless of. The “high risk” age or preexisting illnes or disability. Homeless maked them a higher-risk altogether. If the community is willing to help address the problem like you then city ordnance should be willing to work with us.

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        • May 8, 2020 at 4:38 am
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          That Vagabond Hotel (for the homeless that are over 65 is a joke) the governor states that all homeless individuals are high risk. It’s not based on age alone like Ventura County Agency is making it out to be because that would require them to actually help the needy population as a whole and actually give those individuals a opportunity to have a basic necessities again called SHELTER. No one is asking for Anything more or less than to comply with the order the governor has out in place by someone who had the ability to dispurse these resourse to those who choose to have SHELTER and protect the ones at most risk which should include all homeless because they are high risk because there is no permant shelter for them to go to. Ventura is misusing government funds designed to prevent or isolate a virus that is killing people of all walks of life but now what all the test you didn’t have to give or sheltors to isolate possible carriers or just homeless individuals who chose to self corruntine why because of greed for that funding because you feel the homeless won’t stand up for them self’s or you live to far up on the hill so you won’t come into contact with the one who got away that may be a carrier.
          Time will tell who ever is in charge of the funding that is not being used for all the homeless in our County should have someone to answer to because they sure don’t share what our governor has given them a directive to follow.
          If they were really on top of there game they could have used this opportunity to get a more realistic number for the 2020 Cenus and got a better count on us homeless population That where the real money is.
          Well I did forget that the funding received did go to select hotels of the County’s choice and does anyone know who are the Black Knights? Are they paid county personal, volunteers maybe they are using those empty hotel room paid for with our tax payer dollars. Because I couldn’t get a bed to sleep in or a roof over my head either as I’m sitting in my vehicle again with my dog on the streets in Ventura.

          Reply
  • Pingback:How this new response team is helping people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19 outbreak - City Express

  • March 30, 2020 at 11:46 pm
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    The city did suspend the ordinance forbidding sleeping in a trailer/and also parking on residential streets … i will publish the link tomorrow

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    • March 31, 2020 at 6:05 am
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      Awesome! Thank you.

      Reply
  • April 4, 2020 at 6:19 am
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    I have also called 211, and was told there was nothing they could do for me, and that was just 3 days ago. I have been on Oxnard and Port Hueneme low income housing and also for the senior citizens housing since 2011. I am single, disabled and just turned 68 and I’ve been living on and off these streets for 16 yrs, and I do have medical issues including cancer and high blood pressure. Now this is what I told the girl when I called 211, and she still came back with there is nothing we can do for you, I even asked her if she could tell me who I could go to to get my name on the list for a motel room and I got the same answer. I’m starting to believe they really don’t want to help in hopes we do get sick and die then the city’s problem is solved, period. Even for housing talked to them but they couldn’t help because the only housing they had was for families, I called a list of low income housing and they said I would have to gross 1000.00 or more monthly to be able to get into an apt. I get Social Security Retirement that doesn’t come close to that. The town I grew up in has let me down, I’ve been waiting since 2004 and nothing. If they really wanted to help they would of said where to go or who to see on TV, internet or paper, have you seen anything because I haven’t.

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  • April 11, 2020 at 8:43 am
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    howdo iget funding and how dowe get stimulous check im very concernd and worried help someone if your able to putefort i. to help our comunity

    Reply

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