LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Samantha P. Jessner on Tuesday granted Los Angeles County’s request to stop the City of Norwalk from interfering with an emergency program that would temporarily place homeless seniors and others susceptible to COVID-19 in one of the city’s hotels.
Superior Court Judge Jessner issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing Norwalk from revoking the hotel’s conditional use permit or enforcing a new city moratorium that bars a local hotel from participating in Project Roomkey, an innovative program announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month.
The Court held that the County is likely to prevail on the merits of its claims and that the balance of hardships weighed heavily in favor of the County.
Attorney Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP in LA, outside counsel for the County, said he was grateful for the judge’s ruling, which allows the County to proceed with its urgent efforts to bring at-risk individuals experiencing homelessness indoors.
“The whole idea is to move the most likely victims out of homeless encampments and into safety as quickly as possible,” said Miller. “It’s all about saving lives and stopping the spread of this killer virus.”
Project Roomkey is the first-of-a-kind program that uses $50 million in federal emergency relief funds to book homeless individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 – those 65 or older or with underlying medical conditions – into hotel and motel rooms around the state.
The program also pays for on-site management, wrap-around social services, medical services, medical screening for COVID-19 symptoms and 24-hour onsite security. State and local governments will receive up to 75 percent cost-share reimbursement from FEMA.
So far, Los Angeles County, with one of the state’s largest homeless populations, has secured over 2,200 beds at 26 hotels and motels in various locations.
Last week, a judge in Orange County denied a request from Laguna Beach officials to prevent the placement of homeless at a 79-room hotel in that city.