Los Angeles City Council Proposes to Open Vacant Hotel Rooms for the Homeless

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)

Los Angeles City Council will look to pass legislation that would open vacant hotel rooms for homeless people. If the legislation passes, every Los Angeles hotel must report vacancies. The measure states:


“Each hotel shall communicate to the Department or its designee, in a form that the Department prescribes, by 2 p.m. each day the number of available rooms at the hotel for that night.”

This is the wrong approach by the Los Angeles City Council. Of course, some families lost their jobs, couldn’t afford rent, and were forced to become homeless. Those families or individuals who are not addicted or mentally ill and/or who have children should be sheltered.

However, those with an addiction problem, whether it’s a drug or alcohol problem, and those with mental illness, should be approached differently. Under governors Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, and mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles and the state of California have failed on the homelessness issue for years. Addiction, mental illness, and the fentanyl crisis lead the drive to homelessness. The leaders must put an end to the fentanyl crisis, as it is pouring into the United States; they must hire mental health care workers, and open up more rehabilitation centers, while funding missions to shelter the homeless while they go through rehab.

Los Angeles should take the same approach as Helping Up Mission in Baltimore, Maryland. During their grand opening of the women’s center, the mission showcased former homeless women, who went through the mission’s rehabilitation program and now work for the mission and have returned to their regular lives.


Thomas Franklin, who is a night auditor at the Beverly Hills Marriot in West Los Angeles, was homeless 10 years ago, and he described a “chaotic” experience while living in a transitional housing program. The program had 24-hour staff and security on hand. He told the city council members:

“With all the drugs, all the fighting … we did not have the support in order to make it a successful program there … Without having a clearly defined support from policing and mental services, there’s no way that I think that this is something that we should be able to do.”

Mina Dahya owns a hotel in Hollywood; she is against this proposal.

“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.”


Hotel manager Juan Martinez opposed the proposal, as well, saying:

“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,”

Los Angeles Council Member Joe Buscaino said:

“What the measure does is hurts our tourism industry, which we heavily rely on, in a time when we are getting ready for the Olympics.”

He called this proposition:

“The dumbest measure I’ve seen in my 10-year tenure as a City Council member … It’s the worst of all options as it relates to solving homelessness in the city of LA.”

The Los Angeles City Council should reconsider this proposition because it is not the right approach to solving the homelessness crisis.


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