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San Diego County scrambles to continue COVID-19 hotel program

Guests of a COVID-19 hotel shelter should leave a month earlier than expected, possibly ending in San Diego County troubled a pandemic program designed to protect people who have nowhere to go.

County spokesman Michael Workman confirmed that the owner of a hotel in Old Town, which has been used for more than a year to accommodate people with underlying medical conditions, had given a 30-day warning to terminate a contract with the county in late May.

Because that matters

San Diego County spends millions of dollars to house people with underlying medical conditions in hotels. Most are homeless and have nowhere else to isolate themselves safely and are vulnerable to serious health complications if they come in contact with COVID-19.

That means if the remaining 34 visitors do not find a place to live in the coming weeks, they could be sent to a homeless shelter, Workman said. Attempts to contact the hotel owner were unsuccessful.

The county hotel accommodation program is supposed to last until the end of June – thanks to expansion of federal funding. Workman said officials are looking for other options to continue the program, but “finding willing hotels as summer approaches is a challenge.”

Because it was unexpected, Workman said, staff do not yet know when visitors will need to leave. But that’s critical information, and without it, guests like Bill Beem and his wife, Shera, worry about housing gaps.

“My wife and I are just waiting (a section 8 apartment) to be inspected, and that is it,” he said, adding that it will probably not be ready until June.

At a cost of at least $ 5.2 million a month, the hotel program is the first of its kind and has been praised for its success in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. But inewsource report from the program launched in March 2020 has revealed mismanagement, neglect and harassment of hotel guests.

County officials took over several hotels at the beginning of the pandemic to temporarily house people who needed to be isolated somewhere – many of whom are homeless and may be struggling with mental illness or substance abuse disorders.

With facts, documents and dozens of interviews, inewsource exposed a number of problems in hotels, which were later confirmed by a evaluation with blisters was released by San Diego State University in August. The evaluation was also said by the contractor of the prefecture, Equus Workforce Solutionswas unqualified to run the program and employed inadequately trained staff, forcing residents to suffer long delays in much-needed medication and leaving service gaps that could have led to overdoses and suicides.

At least seven people were killed in the program, according to records obtained from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. Five deaths have been linked to overdose.

The hotel program has two components: isolation and high risk hotels.

People who came in contact with the coronavirus and have nowhere to go in quarantine – including first aid workers who had to be away from their families, as well as homeless people – were sent to an isolation hotel. This part of the program ended in March.

Stray people with underlying medical conditions were given a room in a high-risk hotel in the Old Town. But as it closes a month earlier, some fear it could end up on the streets.

Workman said 30 of the 34 remaining visitors have been given housing grants, but will not provide details about the help county staff and contractors are offering to accommodate guests.

Beem and his wife have been staying at the hotel for more than a year. This week, he said, Equus staff began telling visitors that if they could not find a place to live for the next two weeks, they would be sent to a homeless shelter.

Beem said he has one of those subsidies and an apartment in a row, but they can’t move until next month and his wife has medical needs that can’t be met in a homeless shelter. The possibility of having to go back on the streets, even for just a few weeks, causes incredible stress and anxiety.

“I do not want to lose my wife,” he said. “He will not make it out there on the streets.”

The county should have no problem providing hotel vouchers to the remaining 34 guests, said Amie Zamudio, co-founder Housing 4 the Homeless who has helped place people in hotels and find permanent accommodation. Failure to do so would put people at risk, he said.

“I am personally shocked,” Zamudio said. “I think this is an excuse because you are talking to someone who has placed medically abused homeless people in hotels for many, many, many years – as a single mother. I’m almost speechless. “

Content Type

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the journalist, or reported and verified by knowledgeable sources.

San Diego County scrambles to continue COVID-19 hotel program Source link San Diego County scrambles to continue COVID-19 hotel program

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