Project Roomkey/Housing and Homelessness COVID Response

Project Roomkey was established in March 2020 as part of the state response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of Project Roomkey is to provide non-congregate shelter options for people experiencing homelessness, protect human life, and minimize strain on health care system capacity.

Project Roomkey gives people who are experiencing homelessness and are recovering from COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19 a place to recuperate and properly quarantine outside of a hospital. It also provides a safe place for isolation for people who are experiencing homelessness and at high risk for medical complications should they to become infected.

The Project Roomkey and Rehousing Strategy is designed to quickly provide dedicated resources to ensure Project Roomkey units remain online through the continued public health emergency and that homelessness is non-recurring. Project Roomkey units are intended to be temporary, emergency shelter options, while also serving as a pathway to permanent housing.

Eligibility/For Whom

CDSS recommends prioritizing this extremely scarce resource in a manner consistent with state and federal public health guidance, and FEMA Reimbursement Eligibility Criteria, for people experiencing homelessness which includes people who have tested positive for COVID 19, have been exposed to COVID 19, or are “high risk” of health complications.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Project Roomkey Program is administered locally, and eligibility varies by community.

To learn more about accessing housing and homeless services in your community, including Project Roomkey, please contact the your local Homeless Continuum of Care or County Welfare Department


Information for Project Roomkey/Homelessness Response Providers During COVID

Emergency Planning and Response Guidance for Homeless Services Providers

Additional Emergency Planning and Response Resources

FEMA Non-Congregate Shelter (NCS) Reimbursement Guidance

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Recovery Section acts as the grantee for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. Tribal and local governments are among the entities eligible to apply for Public Assistance (i.e., a subgrant). This is the mechanism by which local governments and tribes will seek FEMA reimbursement for eligible Project Roomkey expenses. CalOES can assist applicants in applying for a Public Assistance subgrant and understanding eligibility requirements. Applicants should also work with their Emergency Services partners in applying for a FEMA Public Assistance subgrant.

Non-Congregate Shelter (NCS): FEMA Approval Letters

Stay Informed on CDSS Housing and Homelessness Program updates and guidance.

Key Guidance

Prioritization and Working with Coordinated Entry

FEMA Reimbursement Screening and Intake Resource Tools

Data and HMIS

Stay Informed on CDSS Housing and Homelessness Program updates and guidance.

Project Roomkey Site Operations

Project Roomkey Wraparound Supports and Services

Stay Informed on CDSS Housing and Homelessness Program updates and guidance.