As the Los Angeles City Council prepares to vote Friday on a controversial homelessness ordinance, hotel owners are publicly voicing their concerns.
The council’s vote is for a voucher program that would house homeless people in hotels alongside customers and workers.
According to city documents, every hotel in Los Angeles should notify the city daily by 2 p.m. of the number of vacant rooms available.
During the pandemic, hotels housed homeless people in exchange for government vouchers, and many hotel owners and managers felt the program was a disaster, with constant fighting, drug use and other problems.
Now those who run their hotels, and even some of their customers, are resisting.
Mina Dahya, who owns a hotel in Hollywood with her husband, said she was against the program.
“I am compassionate towards the homeless. 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 paying guest staying with a homeless guest next door,” Dahya said.
“It’s a bad idea. People won’t feel safe. My staff won’t feel safe, so I think it’s wrong,” added hotel manager Juan Martinez.
“The hotels are full of tourists and the tourists, I don’t know if they’re doing very well with the homeless people who may have drug problems and other problems and I think they need another solution for this,” said a hotel guest. Alice Rienecke.
Hoteliers who spoke to KTLA said a union was behind the campaign, specifically a union for hotel, restaurant, airport, sports arena and convention workers.
Councilman Joe Buscaino said hospitality workers and others will actually be among the hardest hit, as they will be forced to become “social workers” while harming the tourism industry.
“What the measure does is harm our tourism industry, which we rely heavily on, at a time when we are preparing for the… Olympics,” he said.
It is important to note that on Friday, the council will not vote for or against this measure. Instead, the council can vote it out or submit it to voters as a ballot measure, which could happen as early as November.
Buscaino called the plan “the dumbest move I’ve seen in my 10 years as a city council member.”
“This is the worst of all options when it comes to solving homelessness in the city of LA.”, he added.
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