homelessness

LA Voters to Decide If Hotels Must Provide Vacant Rooms to Unhoused

Under the proposal, hotels would need to notify the city of what rooms are still available by 2 p.m. each afternoon.

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A measure requiring hotels in Los Angeles to use vacant rooms to house the homeless will be on the March 2024 ballot, the city council decided Friday.

Under the proposal, hotels would need to notify the city of what rooms are still available by 2 p.m. each afternoon. The establishments would then be required to take in a homeless individual in exchange for a fair-market voucher from the city.

UNITE HERE Local 11, the union representing hotel and restaurant workers, gathered 126,000 signatures in favor of the proposal.

"This will help with the homeless problem," said Maria Hernandez, a spokeswoman for UNITE. "It is part of the effort to get people off the street."

Councilman Paul Krekorian said he is grateful to put the measure before voters.

"Any ridiculous policy proposal that can get enough Trader Joe's shoppers to sign a petition should not be the law of the city of Los Angeles just because a petition qualifies," Krekorian said.

But some hotel owners and operators fiercely oppose the measure, saying the city will not offer wraparound services for the homeless in their establishments. They also said the 2 p.m. deadline is unworkable because of walk-in customers and room changes.

"By having the city issue homeless vouchers, it puts us at a marketing disadvantage from our neighboring competition in adjacent cities," Ray Patel with the Hotel Owners Association said.

The measure would also keep the city from approving the building of any hotel or motel until the housing needs of its citizens were met.

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