Cover art for podcast The Times: Daily news from the L.A. Times

The Times: Daily news from the L.A. Times

270 EpisodesProduced by Los Angeles TimesWebsite

“The Times” is a podcast from the Los Angeles Times hosted by columnist Gustavo Arellano along with reporters from our diverse newsroom. Every weekday, our podcast takes listeners beyond the headlines, with our West Coast outlook on the world. News, entertainment, the environment, immigration, polit… read more


California put homeless people in hotel rooms. Then what?

To Project Roomkey’s architects, the program was a no-brainer. Thousands of hotel rooms were empty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And there were thousands of people who lacked homes and seemed especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. The plan to put the people in the empty rooms and pay the hotel owners seemed to solve two problems at once.

Sounds easy, right? But in practice, not so much. The program helped some people but certainly not everyone.

Today we examine Project Roomkey — its promises, achievements, shortcomings and future. We talk to L.A. Times reporters Benjamin Oreskes and Doug Smith, who have covered the program from the start. We also talk to Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, the head of a nonprofit that helps people transition out of homelessness.

More reading:

L.A. had a golden opportunity to house homeless people in hotels — but fell short of its goal

L.A. County won’t expand program to shelter homeless people in hotels

Federal aid allows L.A. to extend hotel-room rentals for homeless people

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