UNHOUSED - On November 1st, after negotiations between City Council President Paul Krekorian and UniteHERE Local 11, a deal was reached which would pull the Responsible Hotels Ordinance from the March ballot - substituting a city ordinance in place of the previous ballot measure.
The proposed ordinance would include the restrictions on new hotel construction contained in the original ballot measure. The Hotel Housing Voucher Program -- now called the "Voluntary Housing Program" --- would be "subject to the availability of funding and at the discretion of the City."
It mandates that the Housing Department "establish a program to place Unhoused Individuals or Families in vacant hotel guest rooms, at Hotels that Voluntarily participate in this program." The City would develop a registry for hotels which chose to participate in the program, "with the City fulfilling contracting and negotiated per-room rates. Participation shall be purely voluntary and at the sole discretion of the hotel."
As with the original measure, it would be unlawful for hotels enrolled in the program to refuse service to individuals solely based upon their perceived housing status or failure to provide a government-issued form of ID. The Housing Department will contract with non-profit organizations "with a demonstrated record of working with unhoused populations to assist in administering the program."
As with the original measure, it's unclear where the funding for these vouchers will come from, although it does state that "the payment system may utilize government or philanthropic sources".
Five City Council members, including CD11 representative Traci Park, who serves on the Council's Trade and Tourism Committee, and CD13 councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, who was a longtime UniteHERE organizer, signed off the proposal, which will now go before the full City Council for consideration.
(Angela McGregor covers Venice, CA and is a contributor to Westside Current where this story was first published. Westsidecurrent.com.)