KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A housing program that helped hundreds of people during the pandemic in Kings County is coming to an end.
For the last three years, the Holiday Lodge and Stardust Motel have served as a housing facility for unhoused people in Kings County.
It was part of Project Roomkey, a federally-funded program first implemented by the state at the height of the pandemic.
Now with the pandemic over, federal and state funding has also come to an end.
Chris Narez with the Housing Service Agency of Kings County says it's unfortunate because the program has helped 386 individuals since its start in 2020.
"Many of them have been able to find employment and become self-sufficient on their own. Many of them have been able to rekindle relationships with their families and get their children back, and we are very happy to have a resilient community, and we would like to thank them for their support at this time," says Chris, who is the Deputy Director of Kings County Human Service Agency.
The Kings County Sheriff's office says in the last two years, they have seen an increase in homelessness.
A point-in-time report in Kings County found just over 300 people experiencing homelessness.
With services like Project Roomkey ending, there is a concern that number could increase.
"It increases our calls for service. Unfortunately, we get a lot of calls for service regarding the homeless. More often than not, for the country folks, we get calls for someone acting erratically on someone's yard on their property, and we have to go out and handle that," explains Sgt. Nate Ferrier, with the Kings County Sheriff's office.
On Monday, 40 individuals spent their last day at the Holiday Lodge.
Chris mentions, "12 of them were able to find friends and family to stay with, 18 we were able to find other funds to help them stay housed. Unfortunately, 10 of them were unable to find other funds, and we didn't find a permanent spot, or they didn't share where they were going."
Chris also says efforts to help combat the housing crisis in Kings County. They are working on creating more affordable housing.
In the coming months, two apartment complexes will be completed, adding 46 units that can accommodate 70 individuals.
The first complex, called Triangle Courtyard, is expected to be completed in December 2023, and Sunrise Apartments is scheduled for completion in April 2024.
Kings County Housing Service Agency says if federal and state funding does become available in the future, they look forward to creating more programs like these.