LA City Council votes to place proposal that would give empty hotel rooms to homeless on 2024 ballot

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The Los Angeles City Council on Friday voted unanimously to place an ordinance that would house homeless people in hotels alongside guests on the March 2024 ballot rather than adopt it immediately.

Under the initiative, hotels in L.A. would be required to notify the city — every day by 2 p.m. — how many empty rooms they have for the night.

Local and national hotel and tourism leaders say the measure could endanger the safety of hotel workers and guests.

The ordinance will require a majority vote to pass. If it becomes law, the city’s Housing Department would pay hotels a fair market rate to lodge each person after identifying hotels with vacant rooms.

It would require hotels to report the number of vacant rooms to the city and prohibit them from refusing lodging to unhoused people seeking housing through the program.

In order for hotel development projects of 100 or more rooms to receive a permit, the city’s planning commission — or council on appeal — would have to consider the project’s “impact on affordable housing, transit, social services, employees and local businesses,” according to the proposed ordinance. That would include whether the proposed hotel would “unduly burden the demand for affordable housing and social services” in Los Angeles.

Hotel developments of 15 or more rooms that demolish or convert housing for the project would have to replace it with the same amount of affordable housing near the site, according to the proposed ordinance.

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City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.

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