As the Los Angeles City Council prepares to vote on a controversial ordinance on homelessness on Friday, hotel owners are going public with their concerns.
The council’s vote concerns a voucher program that would house the homeless in hotels alongside guests and workers.
According to documents from the city, every hotel in Los Angeles would have to notify the city every day by 2 p.m. how many vacant rooms are 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 guests, are pushing back.
Mina Dahya, who owns a hotel in Hollywood with her husband, said she’s against the program.
“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,” Dahya said.
“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,” added hotel manager Juan Martinez.
“The hotels are booked full of tourists and the tourists, I don’t know if they go together very well with the homeless people who may have a drug problems and other problems and I think they need another solution for that,” said hotel guest Alice Rienecke.
Hoteliers who spoke with KTLA said a labor union is behind the campaign, specifically one for hotel, restaurant, airport, sports arena and convention workers.
Councilman Joe Buscaino said the hotel workers and others will actually be among those affected the most, as they will be forced into becoming “social workers” while hurting the tourism industry.
“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 said.
It is important to note that on Friday, the council will not be voting for or against this measure. Instead, the council can vote it into law or put it to the voters as a ballot measure, which could happen as soon as November.
Buscaino called the plan “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.,” he added.