I am homeless and I need shelter. What do I do?

LA Homeless Services Authority
The Road Home
Published in
3 min readApr 16, 2020


While an unprecedented effort is underway to protect public health by urgently bringing as many people as possible inside, COVID-19 has created additional challenges for people experiencing homelessness.

Access to food is limited with restaurants and community resources closed throughout the county. In addition, hygiene services are more important than ever to keep everyone healthy and safe. The information below outlines what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness and needs access to shelter or services.

Call 800–548–6047 or 211 and let them know you are looking for shelter. If you do not want to or are unable to call, please follow the directions below.

  1. Identify your Service Planning Area (SPA), as shown on the below map or via this ONLINE TOOL.
  2. Find an Access Center based on the population that best describes you:
    Adults (18 years old and over)
    Families with children (dependent minors or adult dependent child)
    Youth (16–24 years old)
  3. Contact an Access Center based on “Operation Hours” and related contact information.

Q: How do I get placed into a Project Roomkey hotel/motel room?

Project Roomkey rooms are for people who are experiencing homelessness and have shown no symptoms of illness but are deemed “High-Risk” based on CDC Guidelines.

Those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

Individuals are pre-screened and selected by a homeless services provider or referred by an outreach team before they can be transported to the location. 211 cannot refer people to Project Roomkey sites. Clients cannot walk-up and access the sites without a referral.

Q: I’m high-risk of being vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. How can I go to one of the hotels/motels the county has for high-risk individuals?

Use the same steps above to reach a coordinated entry system access point. Make sure they know you’re in the high-risk population and they will get you in the pipeline for more isolated shelter depending on priority and availability.

Q: I don’t want to go into a shelter, but I do need resources to keep me safe from the virus.

  • If you would like an outreach worker to contact you, please visit la-hop.org and submit an outreach request.
  • Handwashing and shower stations have been set up throughout the county and can be found on this map which also includes hours and locations for
    Mobile shower units by The Shower of Hope
    Selected YMCA showers, bathrooms, and lockers available from 9 am-2 pm Monday through Friday.

Q: I am experiencing symptoms and have no safe place to quarantine. Where should I go?

If you are in need of emergency healthcare services, please call 911. Otherwise, please call 211 and let them know you are experiencing homelessness and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. For more information on Coronavirus, please see http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ.pdf

Q: I know someone who needs services

If you know of someone who needs services, please visit la-hop.org and submit an outreach request.

Q: I need food, are there places serving meals right now?

LA County has set up a portal for food support including meals, vouchers, and deliveries https://covid19.lacounty.gov/food/

A map of food pantries and their contact information is available here https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/c20d2d3e14474654ab3c9315089f09cd

California WIC is also providing free food for families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. More information can be found here https://www.phfewic.org/how-wic-works/apply-for-wic/



LA Homeless Services Authority
The Road Home

We lead the fight to end #homelessness in LA County. www.lahsa.org.