Hotel workers, some of whom have experienced homelessness themselves in recent years, shared their input Friday on a proposal that would require Los Angeles hotels to rent vacant rooms to homeless people.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the initiative will appear on Los Angeles voters' ballots in the year 2024.
At a city council meeting on Friday, hotel workers and industry players voiced opinions for and against the proposal, with several noting that staff members are not properly trained to provide the mental health and social services needed to adequately address unsheltered individuals' needs.
Thomas Franklin, a night auditor at the Beverly Hills Marriott in West Los Angeles, said he himself was homeless ten years ago and described a chaotic experience living in a transitional housing program that had 24 hour security and staff on hand.
He told council members that they didn't have the support to make the program a success. There is no way that we should be able to do this without a clearly defined support from policing and mental services.
The owner of a Los Angeles hotel said that his employees are scared and afraid not just for their lives and their safety, but also for how we are treating the homeless.
He said that there needs to be a more humane way to deal with the problem. This is not a joke to my staff, they are here with me. They will be looking for other opportunities if this passes.
Thousands of Local 11 members are currently facing eviction due to the myth that every homeless person is a danger to the people around them.
A union member with a good-paying job was recently homeless due to the housing crisis.
The speakers pointed out the lack of economic data and funding information in the proposal. The proposal would cause carriers to pull coverage, according to an executive at Petra RiskSolutions.
The initiative will not be available because it will change the entire scope of the business, he said. It will be a huge blow to their business.
Hotels that destroy housing would be required to replace them with affordable housing. Ronald Bermudez said at the meeting that he works as a bellman at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
He told council members that he is a renter. The high cost of rent will make it difficult to stay in LA. We have to do everything we can to protect housing.
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