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A controversial measure that would require hotels in Los Angeles to provide vacant rooms to homeless people will go before voters in 2024, the City Council decided Friday.

The council rejected an option that would have skipped the public vote and enacted the ordinance directly, instead voting 12 to 0 to send the measure to the ballot.

The initiative is backed by the union Unite Here Local 11, which had already gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot.

The vote came after a lengthy and animated public comment session, with the majority of speakers opposing direct approval of the measure.

Under the proposal, hotels would be required to regularly report the number of vacant rooms they have to the city’s housing department. A program run through the department would then make referrals and pay “fair market rate” for the lodging using prepaid vouchers. Hotels would be prohibited from discriminating against homeless Angelenos “for their participation in this program, or the fact or perception, that they are unhoused.”

The proposal comes as city officials are gradually closing one of the signature programs set up to address the homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic: Project Roomkey, which turned multistory hotels into makeshift shelters.

Housing & Homelessness

For Subscribers L.A. had a golden opportunity to house homeless people in hotels — but fell short of its goal

Project Roomkey, a state program backed by federal dollars, was intended to house homeless people during the pandemic. But it never got close to its goal.

The proposed program has no designated source of funding and would be contingent on funding being secured by July 1, 2023, according to a report from the city attorney’s office.

Because the proposal’s backers had gathered enough signatures to get the measure onto the ballot, the council had three options when it came up on Friday: adopt it into law directly, call a special election, or place it on the ballot during the next regularly scheduled election. Under election timing rules, that would be the March 5, 2024, primary.

If approved, the proposal would also require new projects with more than 100 rooms or units to obtain a conditional use permit that would take the market demand for hotel and community impacts into consideration.

The proposal would add new affordable housing requirements for most new hotel developments that replace existing housing units, requiring the developments to include a corresponding number of new affordable housing units at the hotel or in the surrounding neighborhood.

Many hotel owners and operators spoke vehemently against the proposal, arguing that it would unfairly burden hotels and hurt their ability to do business.

During his public comment, Ray Patel asked all the hotel owners in the room to stand up, saying their operations would be dramatically affected if the proposal was directly approved. Patel instead urged the city to use Project Roomkey’s voluntary participation as a model.

“Hotels would gladly volunteer their hotels to participate in programs as long as there’s a wraparound service which includes mental health service, social service, 24-hour security and somebody’s there to hold their hand and help them get into permanent housing,” Patel said.

Several speakers also raised concerns about the lack of details regarding how the sweeping proposal would work.

“We have no economic data about what it will cost the city,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., said, noting the lack of funding source and the fact that rates had not yet been set for hotel rooms.

“Hotels did not cause the homeless problem. Hotels are not the solution for the homeless problem,” Waldman said, to loud applause in the council chamber.

Richard Earle, a representative of independent hospitality insurance brokerage PetraRisk Solutions, argued that the program would reduce hotels’ ability to procure and maintain insurance.

“Insurance carriers will legitimately pull coverage,” Earle said. “The business is underwritten with risks that involve guests and business travelers, not residents who bring a whole set of separate implications.”

But Carly Kirchen, an organizer with Unite Here Local 11, argued that hotel operators and associations were unfairly prejudiced against unhoused Angelenos.

“The hotel operators would have you believe that every person experiencing homelessness is so sick that they are a danger to the people around them. But this myth argument misrepresents who is actually experiencing homelessness,” Kirchen said, explaining that hotel workers are among those most affected by the housing crisis, with thousands of their members facing eviction.

“Even as a union member with a good-paying job I was recently homeless due to the housing crisis in our city,” said Bambian Taft, who identified herself as a hotel minibar attendant and former housekeeper. Taft said she had recently paid out of pocket to stay at hotels with her daughters during a time when there was “no work for me at the hotel.”

She was one of a handful of hotel workers who spoke in support of the proposal.

News Source: latimes.com

Tags: for subscribers l a politics for subscribers for subscribers for subscribers for subscribers for subscribers experiencing homelessness to house homeless people new affordable housing the proposal the proposal the housing crisis project roomkey public comment that they housing units hotel workers to the ballot hotel owners at the hotel the council argued the measure the council the lack

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Diamondbacks and Rockies meet to decide series winner

Colorado Rockies (48-62, fifth in the NL West) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (47-59, fourth in the NL West)

Phoenix; Sunday, 4:10 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Rockies: Jose Urena (1-3, 4.66 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 20 strikeouts); Diamondbacks: Zach Davies (2-4, 4.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 63 strikeouts)

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Diamondbacks -159, Rockies +134; over/under is 9 runs

BOTTOM LINE: Both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies are looking for a series win with a victory on Sunday.

Arizona has a 47-59 record overall and a 28-28 record at home. The Diamondbacks have gone 23-12 in games when they did not allow a home run.

Colorado has a 48-62 record overall and an 18-35 record in road games. The Rockies have a 32-14 record in games when they out-hit their opponents.

The teams meet Sunday for the 13th time this season. The Rockies lead the season series 7-5.

TOP PERFORMERS: Ketel Marte has 32 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 37 RBI while hitting .260 for the Diamondbacks. Jake McCarthy is 9-for-37 with a double over the last 10 games.

C.J. Cron has 24 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs and 72 RBI for the Rockies. Randal Grichuk is 11-for-35 with a double, two triples, two home runs and 12 RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Diamondbacks: 4-6, .220 batting average, 3.78 ERA, outscored by three runs

Rockies: 3-7, .264 batting average, 5.72 ERA, outscored by 19 runs

INJURIES: Diamondbacks: Tyler Gilbert: 60-Day IL (elbow), Caleb Smith: 15-Day IL (hand), Keynan Middleton: 15-Day IL (ankle), Humberto Castellanos: 60-Day IL (elbow), Nick Ahmed: 60-Day IL (shoulder)

Rockies: Chad Kuhl: 15-Day IL (hip), Kris Bryant: 10-Day IL (foot), Jhoulys Chacin: 15-Day IL (toe), Tyler Kinley: 60-Day IL (elbow), Helcris Olivarez: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Ryan Rolison: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Scott Oberg: 60-Day IL (arm)

___

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

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