The controversial homeless-in-hotels ballot measure in Los Angeles, which sought to mandate hotels in the city to house homeless individuals alongside paying guests, has been withdrawn. The decision comes after intense negotiations and pressure from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the LA City Council.
Proposed by Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hospitality workers in Los Angeles, the initiative faced staunch opposition from hoteliers and city officials. The AHLA, under the leadership of President & CEO Chip Rogers, played a crucial role in challenging the proposal, citing concerns over safety, security, and the feasibility of such a mandate.
Rogers, in a statement, expressed relief and satisfaction at the council’s decision to remove the measure from the March 2024 ballot. He criticized Unite Here for leveraging the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles as a bargaining tool rather than addressing it earnestly. Rogers thanked the LA City Council for facilitating a compromise, emphasizing the need for prioritizing the safety and security of hotel employees and guests.
The backlash against the proposal was rooted in the belief that it would create an unpredictable and potentially unsafe environment for both hotel staff and patrons. The notion of mandating hotels to become part-time homeless shelters was widely regarded as extreme and unviable by many stakeholders in the city.
In a strategic move last week, Unite Here formally requested the removal of its homeless-in-hotels measure from the upcoming ballot, leading to the LA City Council’s official approval of this request. This decision marks a significant pivot in the city’s approach to addressing homelessness, shifting from a compulsory to a voluntary model.
The newly approved ordinance includes a voluntary homeless-in-hotels program, reflecting a more collaborative and less divisive approach to tackling the city’s homelessness crisis. This development highlights the complex interplay of labor unions, local governance, and business interests in urban policy-making, especially in addressing social issues like homelessness.
The withdrawal of the homeless-in-hotels ballot measure in Los Angeles represents a critical juncture in the city’s ongoing struggle with homelessness. It underscores the challenges and sensitivities involved in finding effective, humane solutions to this persistent issue, balancing the needs and concerns of various stakeholders in the community.