The Los Angeles City Council will discuss an initiative on Friday that would mandate every hotel in LA to give their empty rooms to the homeless.
According to local Fox 11 News, the measure states that"Each hotel shall communicate to the Department or its designee, in a form that the Department prescribes, by 2 pm each day the number of available rooms at the hotel for that night."
The new law would require each hotel to report their vacancies by the afternoon so the homeless could be allocated according to the department's discretion. The Council must decide whether to send the mandate to voters for the final approval or the Council could decide to implement right away on their own.
Independent Hollywood hotel owner Mina Dahya told KTLA news, "I am compassionate of the homeless people. I want to take care of them. But I don’t think my staff and I are ready to do the combination where I have a paid guest staying with a homeless voucher guest next door."
The hotel manager Juan Martinez agreed with Dahya. "This is a bad idea. People are not going to feel safe. My staff is not going to feel safe, so I think this is wrong."
The President of the Northeast Los Angeles Hotel Owners Association, Ray Patel, called the ordinance "crazy" and told Fox 11, "I can't screen who ends up in my hotel rooms? How do I protect my other customers and my staff?"
"When I rent a room, I want to make sure my staff is safe," Patel said, "I want to make sure my paying guests are safe. And, most importantly, my neighbors are complimented and happy with my operation." Patel later said he was scared of the legal consequences for non-compliance.
According to the Daily Wire, LA's Local 11 plotted the measure's implementation. The "progressive union representing 32,000 hospitality workers in southern California and Arizona" gathered over 120,000 signatures for the ordinance that clearly outlined that all hotels in LA, without exception, would be forced to house the city's growing homeless population.
Maria Hernandez, communications director for the union, said, "It’ll help create an emergency solution for people that need housing immediately."
Hernandez went on to say, "We have members that are on the edge of potentially becoming homeless people," and the new measures would not be that different from Project Room Key which housed the homeless in hotels during the Covid pandemic.
Reports of Project Room Key from hotel managers speak of the homeless constantly fighting and taking drugs in the rooms and hallways of their establishments.
The homelessness crisis in Los Angeles has grown in magnitude and severity from point-in-time counts since 2016 and increased by approximately 13 percent at the beginning of 2020.
Two years ago more than 66,000 transients in the county were experiencing homelessness, with over 41,000 in the city. A 2022 point-in-time count has been conducted but the results are being withheld until September.