OC Judge Rejects Effort To Block Laguna Hills Hotel From Housing Homeless Coronavirus Patients

It's all part of Project Roomkey, a statewide California initiative in partnership with FEMA which launched earlier this month to temporarily house homeless people in available hotel and motel rooms

OC Judge Rejects Effort To Block Laguna Hills Hotel From Housing Homeless Coronavirus Patients

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – An Orange County Superior Court judge has rejected an effort to prevent a Laguna Hills hotel from housing homeless coronavirus patients.

The Laguna Hills Inn. April 15, 2020. (CBS2)

Earlier this month, Orange County signed a three-month contract with the 76-room Laguna Hills Inn to house COVID-19 patients.

It is all part of Project Roomkey, a statewide California initiative in partnership with FEMA which launched earlier this month to temporarily house homeless people in available hotel and motel rooms in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. State and local governments are then reimbursed by FEMA for up to 75 percent for the cost of those rooms.

Laguna Hills Mayor Janine Heft, along with area businesses, filed a lawsuit against the plan last week, claiming  a quarter of the city’s population is over the age of 65, putting them at risk..

However, the judge Monday rejected a request for a temporary restraining order against the hotel’s deal with the county.

“It’s not a secure facility,” Heft told CBS2 last week. “If you look at it, you’ve got a lot of places where they can walk out and that’s one of our concerns. If they want to leave, you know, who’s gonna forcibly keep them there?”

RELATED: Garcetti Announces Rapid Testing For Homeless, Pop-Up Facility On Skid Row

Kevin Akash, president of the hotel owner, Elite Hospitality Inc., said in court papers that he is “proud to work with the county of Orange” on Project Roomkey.

“Elite agreed to participate in Project Roomkey because it was the right thing to do,” Akash said. “We want to do everything we can to help our community during this time of crisis. By providing temporary lodging to those in need, we will allow them to isolate, stem the spread of the COVID-19 and lessen the impact on local hospitals and on our community as a whole.”

In the O.C. community of Laguna Woods, the Ayres Hotel earlier this month was forced to back out of a plan to house homeless individuals who either test positive for coronavirus or are showing symptoms following protest from a nearby retirement community.

The Los Angeles County cities of Lawndale and Bell Gardens are also considering legal action to try and stop local hotels from being used to house the homeless as part of Project Roomkey. That prompted attorneys for L.A. County Friday to request an emergency hearing.

The Covina City Council also held a special meeting Friday to debate whether to try and halt an effort to use one of its local hotels.

Source : CBS Los Angeles More   

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LA County Crime Down As A Whole, But Domestic Violence Up

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – While crime as a whole is down in Los Angeles County since the stay-at-home order took effect amid the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence calls were on the rise. Cars drive down a relatively empty Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood on April 19, 2020. (Getty Images) Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported […]

LA County Crime Down As A Whole, But Domestic Violence Up

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – While crime as a whole is down in Los Angeles County since the stay-at-home order took effect amid the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence calls were on the rise.

Cars drive down a relatively empty Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood on April 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported Monday that violent crime and property crimes were significantly down compared to last year.

Violent crime was down 9.73 percent between mid-March and mid-April, this compared to the same period last year, Villanueva disclosed.

Of that number, homicides were down 21 percent and rape was down nearly 29 percent.

Property crimes were also down 11.43 percent.

However, the number of domestic violence calls which deputies were responding to were up 8.11 percent. Over the past month, there have been 933 calls regarding domestic violence, this up from 863 over the same time last year.

“Everyone living in confined quarters, with very few options or reliefs, it’s a concern,” Villanueva said.

Domestic violence victims in an emergency situation should call 911, or those looking for resources can call 211 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Meanwhile, Villanueva reported that 51 LASD employees have tested positive for the disease so far.

“It’s been inching upwards every single day, and that number concerns me a lot,” Villanueva said.

543 deputies who were quarantined after being exposed to the virus have returned to work.

“Fortunately, we have all of our forces out there in the field deployed in excess numbers, so we can absorb the losses of those that are in the quarantine,” Villanueva said. “As soon as they’re available, they’re back out in the service.”

There are also 26 inmates in county jails who have tested positive, seven of whom who have already fully recovered. Another 64 inmates are in isolation and 1,724 are quarantined.

Source : CBS Los Angeles More   

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