The rapidly rising level of homelessness in Los Angeles appears to have finally gotten the attention of city officials who have begun 2018 with several moves to combat the problem. The latest: The City Council will consider a proposal to convert some hotels and motels into temporary housing facilities for the homeless.
The ordinance will be proposed Wednesday in the Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, requiring that a participating hotel or motel be wholly used as supportive and transitional housing, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. A provision would allow the hotel or motel operators to return the facility to regular operation.
There were more than 10,000 guest rooms in 382 hotels citywide, according to a City Planning Department report.
Supportive housing has no limit on the length of stay, and can house people with low incomes and disabilities, including young people aging out of the foster care system, veterans, homeless, or people leaving institutional settings. Transitional housing can serve similar populations, but is designed to facilitate movement to permanent housing within two years.
The ordinance would ease regulations on hotels, including zoning requirements, that want to convert to housing and would require all units at that hotel to be affordable and at least half available to homeless, the Daily News reported.
This comes on the heels of a move on Tuesday from Downtown Councilmember Jose Huizar, who proposed a measure to build five trailers to house 67 people on a city parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets. The trailers would act as transitional housing and the city hopes to serve people who camp out around the nearby El Pueblo Historical monument. The proposal is the work of a mayoral task force made up of representatives from city agencies.
The rate of homelessness increased by 20 percent between 2016 and 2017, to 34,189 people, according to the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count.
The Los Angeles proposal would be similar to a controversial measure that New York City has used for years, in which it houses homeless individuals in hotel rooms to deal with its ever-growing homeless crisis. The practice has proven unpopular with people who live near the converted hotels and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he wants to move away from those facilities “as quickly as possible.” [Daily News] – Dennis Lynch