A Los Angeles councilman says luxury hotels should not be exempt from a program to temporarily move people experiencing homelessness into empty hotel rooms after owners at the city's Ritz-Carlton said they opposed the plan.
Project Roomkey is a statewide effort to lease hotel rooms to shelter some of the most vulnerable homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic.
An email from the Homeowner’s Association for the Ritz-Carlton Residences says it's resisting Project Roomkey at the Ritz and the adjoining J.W. Marriott hotels. The email lists concerns about safety, security, property values and overall lifestyle.
The Residences include 224 apartments that cost between $1 million and $40 million on the top floors of the downtown Ritz-Carlton high-rise.
“Our main point for waiver, is that we have residents attached to this building,” the email reads.
Councilman Mike Bonin is asking city and county entities to report which hotels are not participating. Bonin’s motion also directs them to create a list of hotels that have received any sort of “public subsidy, tax breaks, or economic development incentives.”
“I don’t think fancy hotels should be exempt from Project Roomkey,” Bonin told the station. “As we look to hotels to step up, those that have benefited from public investment and public largess - those are the first that we should be looking towards.”
According to a 2018 report by the city controller, Los Angeles agreed to pay the owners of the LA LIVE complex, which includes the Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott, $270 million in financial incentives over a 25 year period.
Representatives for the hotel did not respond to requests for comment.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. Most people recover.