Homeless to Stay in Oakland Hotels During Shelter-in-Place Order

Two Oakland hotels have been leased by the state for $2.1 million a month.

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Thousands of homeless are doing their best to shelter in place, hoping the coronavirus does not hit the places they are camped out in.

Homeless advocates said it is critical to get people living on the street to safer spaces as soon as possible.

"Time is of the essence and the more we do now the more we can protect people," said Heather Freinkel with the Homeless Action Center.

In Oakland, there is an effort to house the homeless in hotels.

Two Oakland hotels have been leased by the state for $2.1 million a month, but Alameda County said it would take them days, maybe weeks, to get them staffed for move in. Officials said medical and mental health staff will be needed.

"We need to set up security, establish laundry facilities, the ability to feed and take care of those residing at the hotel," Alameda County Sheriff's Office Capt. Pace Stokes said.

County officials said late Wednesday the state decided to take over, saying they need the homeless to start moving in within 72 hours.

Homeless advocates said they hope the operation starts as soon as possible. They believe lives are on the line. The county said those most at-risk will get first dibs.

"The seniors are definitely a priority, as are those with compromised immune systems," Stokes said. "Those who are at higher risk from serious complications for coronavirus."

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