Older Adults Sheltered Under Project RoomKey: A Client Population Profile and Recommended Approach to Ensure Retention of Housing through the Coming Transition Period

Thumbnail Image
Penn collection
School of Social Policy and Practice::Departmental Papers (SPP)
Degree type
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Urban Studies and Planning
Urban, Community and Regional Planning
Homelessness Policy Analysis and Commentary
Homelessness and Housing Insecurity
Project RoomKey
Grant number
Copyright date
Related resources
Kuhn, Randall
Perry, Andy
Stevens, Max

"In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County has, to date, executed agreements with 32 hotels/motels and is working with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to utilize these sites as emergency housing for high vulnerability homeless persons under Project Roomkey. This report is based on 1,498 persons housed through Project Roomkey as of April 30, 2020. A total of 297 of these persons provided with emergency housing are at least 65 years of age (19.8 percent).

A Long-Term Housing Strategy Built on Two Objectives, Thee Commitments, and a Familiar Model: This report recommends a strategic approach to transitioning older adults from Project Roomkey to long-term housing arrangements that adopts a variant of the Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) model as a basic framework and places a premium on health and safety from exposure to COVID-19. The strategy would pursue basic two objectives:

  • Objective 1: Ensure all Project Roomkey clients are placed into safe permanent or interim housing upon moving out of the participating hotels and motels.
  • Objective 2: Housing placements of older adults out of Project Roomkey must include services that effectively address client vulnerabilities.

To achieve these objectives, the County and LAHSA must commit to the following through a coordinated and collaborative effort with cities and with a broad range of stakeholders that straddle government jurisdictions:

  • Where continued occupancy in hotels participating in Project Roomkey is not possible, immediate placement of all clients in permanent housing or a on a rapid path to permanent housing arrangements that are safe and do not introduce added health risks.
  • Provision of Housing Stabilization Case Management Services to all clients, encompassing mainstream benefits enrollment (e.g. SSI, SSDI, GR, CalFresh), housing transition counseling, landlord negotiation, coordination of move-in assistance, and transition to community health and service supports. A flexible approach in fitting clients to a diverse range of possible long-term subsidized housing options on a client-by-client basis, one informed by specific needs and vulnerabilities and oriented around safety from potential COVID-19 exposure through opportunities for self-isolation and quarantine."
Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Series name and number
Publication date
Volume number
Issue number
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
Recommended citation