Why ‘Project Roomkey’ fell so short of its goal to house 15,000 Angelenos experiencing homelessness

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A number of residential hotels in the City of LA, such as the Madison Hotel in downtown, offer shelter for people who would otherwise be homeless. Photo by Amy Ta.

As some hotel rooms sit empty, tens of thousands of people live on the streets of Los Angeles. At the beginning of the pandemic, city and county leaders planned to solve the two problems at once. They wanted to house 15,000 homeless people in hotel and motel rooms. But months later, “Project Roomkey” is winding down. One location has closed and the rest are expected to close by February. The program peaked with about 4,000 people housed.