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LA Measure to Require Hotels to accommodate Homeless Set for March Ballot

LOS ANGELESA measure that could require hotels in LA to put homeless people in vacant rooms and the town to take into account its affordable housing needs before approving new hotel developments can look on the March 2024 ballot.

If the measure is approved by voters, the citys Housing Department would pay hotels a good market rate to lodge each individual after identifying hotels with vacant rooms. It could require hotels to report the amount of vacant rooms to the town and prohibit them from refusing lodging to homeless people seeking housing through this program.

The initiative received a lot more than 126,000 signatures and was submitted to the town council, which voted unanimously Aug. 5 to put it on the ballot instead of adopt it immediately. The proposal comes as Project Roomkey, an application created in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic that provided shelters for a lot more than 10,000 homeless individuals in the past two years, has been eliminated.

Maria Hernandez, communications director of UNITE HERE Local 11, said members of the union representing a lot more than 32,000 workers at hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California walked to greatly help collect signatures.

We think it is a good sense issue, and housing can be an issue that affects so quite a few members each day, Hernandez told City News Service. Unfortunately, thats not discussed enough, especially individuals who are either on the brink of homelessness or needing to reside in homes with multiple people at the same time.

Hotel owners opposing the measure packed the council chambers Friday, arguing that the proposal would decimate the neighborhood hotel industry by scaring away both staff and visitors.

Heather Rozman, executive director of the Hotel Association of LA, told the council that hotel staff isn’t public safety providers and really should not be required to tidy up behind the citys humanitarian crisis.

The hotel industry is here now today because their livelihoods, their family-owned businesses and perhaps their homes are in stake, Rozman said. Families and business travelers arriving at LA wish to know theyll have affordable and safe accommodations if they arrive.

Rozman added that she feared insurance firms would increase premiums if the measure passes. She said some organizers of large conferences already are contemplating pulling events from LA.

Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, told the council: Hotels didn’t cause the homeless problem. Hotels aren’t the answer for the homeless problem.

Councilman Joe Buscaino called the initiative an ill-conceived proven fact that will not solve homelessness and instead hurts tourism. He urged voters to defeat the measure.

Placing paying hotel guests close to an unhoused person shows a whole misunderstanding of the sources of homelessness, which frequently stem from mental illness and substance abuse, Buscaino said in a statement.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, without stating a posture on the measure, said special interest groups backing any ridiculous policy proposal that may get enough Trader Joes shoppers to sign a petition shouldn’t be regulations of the town of LA, wish petition qualifies.

Im grateful that with this item, we voted to place this matter prior to the voters, where it belongs, Krekorian said. If the voters desire to pass it, great. Should they dont, great.

To ensure that hotel development projects of 100 or even more rooms to get a permit, the citys planning commissionor council on appealwould need to think about the projects effect on affordable housing, transit, social services, employees and local businesses, based on the proposed ordinance. That could include if the proposed hotel would unduly burden the demand for affordable housing and social services in LA.

Hotel developments of 15 or even more rooms that demolish or convert housing for the project would need to replace it with exactly the same level of affordable housing close to the site.

I believe its an all-around approach, Hernandez said. For those who have less luxury hotel development, you have significantly more housing. Which means that men and women arent needing to live super, super a long way away or be on the brink of homelessness.

Along with adopting the ordinance as written, the council may have also called a particular election later this season that could have cost approximately $12 million. There’s likely to be minimal cost to put it on the ballot in 2024.

Bambian Taft, who works as a hotel minibar attendant and helped obtain signatures for the petition, said the ordinance means too much to her and her daughter.

I wouldnt need to pay $145 for a accommodation every evening and make an effort to work out how me and my daughter are likely to eat and take showers and sleep, Taft thought to City News Service. At this time, the struggle is real. You dont need to be [mentally ill] or somebody off the road to undergo the struggle of homelessness. I simply require a little jump begin to help me and my daughter.

City News Service

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