INSANE: L.A. Will Vote To Require All Hotels To House The Homeless When Not Sold Out

New York City has housed the homeless in hotels for years, often lower-end properties or hotels out by JFK (which historically has meant lower-end properties).

During the pandemic several cities housed the homeless in hotels and this did reduce the spread of Covid-19. It was win-win, with hotels empty and seeing an opportunity for some revenue, and cities able to address a problem for less than it usually costs them – though New York City still managed to get fleeced.

New York spends $41,000 per year per homeless person which is why they’ve sent some to Hawaii with a plane ticket, rent money, and cash for furnishings.

Now Los Angeles has a plan. Their City Council has voted unanimously to place a requirement on the ballot for all hotels to provide rooms to the homeless when they aren’t full.

If it passes in 2024, the hotels will have to inform the city of the number of vacant rooms they have each day. The city would house individuals in the vacant rooms and pay for them with vouchers.

The program would not be voluntary, and managers could face lawsuits if they don’t comply.

Hotels reportedly would have to inform the city about open inventory each day at 2 p.m. But that’s even prior to check-in time at most hotels. Hotels continue to sell rooms even after midnight (when some online channels can no longer accommodate this).

Customers increasingly book last minute. That’s the premise of ‘HotelTonight’, you land in a city and book your room. Hotels have all sorts of mechanisms to unload unsold inventory at the last minute, including at normal rates, so if the city provides less than prevailing rates for these rooms it is a hit to a hotel’s bottom line.

Airport hotels often get their best rates at the last minute. Last minute surges in bookings happen during weather events and other airline operational meltdowns which often aren’t known until day of.

Will all hotels receive the same rate? Will homeless be put up at the Four Seasons? No matter what you think of someone’s ‘right to housing’ it will inevitably conflict with a property’s brand experience that then diminishes its ability to hold revenue premiums. That not only reduces the income-generating potential of a hotel, but jeopardizes its ability to repay debt. And riskier hotel debt makes it tougher to finance new hotel projects in LA.

Fundamentally, though, for this to make sense you’d need to believe that,

  1. The problem of homelessness is primarily about lack of a place to sleep and shower
  2. And that there’s no way to voluntarily purchase or provide shelter in the market

I’m not suggesting LA buy hotels and operate them for the homeless, there are probably better operators. But hotels which are geared towards traditional guests aren’t going to have the services many in the homeless population need – either to assist them out of their situation, or to deal with their experiences in the moment.

It seems far better to (1) contract with hotels for blocks of rooms for housing, as an alternative to shelters. Pay a rate that entices some hotel owners, package that with social services, and prepare to deliver rooms in a way that helps the homeless and manages the experiences of other guests at the same time.

Requiring hotels to take in homeless people on a one-off basis, when they happen to have a room available, seems like the least effective way to address the problem of homelessness. The program is based on same-day availability of rooms, so homeless will often be forced to move from hotel to hotel every night, too, which hardly seems the best way to address the problem – for the homeless themselves, or for the city administering the program, since presumably many of those staying won’t just be checking out, hopping in an Uber, and then showing up at the next hotel on their itinerary (and waiting at the pool or bar until check-in time?).

To be sure, there are outlier cases where someone might benefit from this. Several years ago an employed but homeless man in New York obtained free hotel nights via credit card initial bonuses using stolen identities in order to secure shelter. A voucher program would have accomplished the same thing for him while being legal. But this is also a very edge case.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gene- Apparently you have a problem with comprehension, which I am not surprised to read. For clarity, I have no intention of ever setting foot in California. Gene and my aforementioned list of sickos can have that state to themselves.

  2. How will any damage, or additional cleaning be addressed?

    I have to admit, the only hotel I had in LA was by LAX when a flight was cancelled. Knowing a last minute hotel is out of the question, I’ll make sure I’m prepared to sleep at the airport.

  3. At this point people should view democrats and leftists for what they are. The enemy.

    Don’t argue with them, don’t associate with them and don’t support them. Treat them as the enemy to society they are.

    They are not your friends, family or countrymen.

  4. Koggerji – your comments are 100% correct, and California is the perfect example of what results from the lying leftist DemocRats and their socialist agenda.

  5. The saddest part is, the idiots who voted the LA council in then decide to move to Arizona and Californicate us too.
    A pox on them on.

  6. We left California for Florida 3 years ago. For us it was lower taxes and less homelessness that encouraged the move. Unfortunately trump and the maga cult are just as bad as the la city council democrats. ( the lies, the cheating, j6 …)

    Both sides are awful, let’s not blame only the democrats

  7. Insanity is what CA and LA are all about, sadly. They’re totally disconnected from reality. I’d almost feel sorry for California and LA residents, but they keep voting in these clowns.

  8. I have a better idea: California politicians who own mansions with more than one bedroom are required to house the homeless if any bedroom is not occupied each night.

  9. Nobody seems to be understanding this. A third party has enough signatures for a ballot measure. It was brought before the city council to approve it without the public vote. The city council rejected it. So now it has to go to vote because they have enough signatures.

    What exactly did the city council do wrong here? They voted to reject it.

  10. What ever happened to the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause? As far as I am concerned, the “just compensation” required is the maximum posted room rate (found on the rear of most hotel room doors and required by law) for each night someone is involuntarily housed in that room.

  11. We’re harvesting the fruits of democracy. Whomever screams the loudest gets what they want. However, all the politicians did was place it on the ballot. Doubt if they had much choice. “The people have spoken.” Now the group that is the strongest will determine whether hotels will be subject to such idiocy. Somehow “requiring” hotels to report vacant rooms daily seems to go against the American grain. It all depends on how loud the screamers are and who listens to them.

  12. So as to your point #2 “there’s no way to voluntarily purchase or provide shelter in the market” – 80% of LA County (not the City, they are separate) is zoned for single family homes only. And any attempt to modify that at the county level (or especially to build any kind of homeless shelter) is screamed down at those meetings.

    So the county is currently doing… not much, and the other 14 or so cities that make up what people think of as “LA” have varying degrees of programs, but mostly similar zoning plans and opposition to housing construction. So while I don’t think this particular plan is fully-baked (I agree with your assertion on point #1), if #2 is unworkable what other options are there besides putting people in hotel rooms? City of LA proper certainly can’t mandate the other cities or the county do anything at all.

    BTW, for everyone yelling about airport hotels – very much going to vary depending on where they are. Anything along Century further inland than the 405 is legally in Inglewood, a separate city that would not be subject to this order.

  13. @huey judy – to your point about loud screaming: you’re right, which is why we’re in this mess in the first place. 80% of LA County (not LA City, which is what has this potential ballot measure) doesn’t allow anything beyond a single family home, so housing costs are out of control everywhere and the ability to build homeless resources depends on which of dozens of jurisdictions one is in. There are 88 separate cities in LA County, probably 15 or so in what people tend to think of as “Los Angeles”

    Actual LA City really only contains the airport, Downtown/Dodgers Stadium, Venice, literally just the waterfront of Marina Del Rey (the actual Marina is its own city), the eastern side of West Los Angeles, and a good chunk of the Valley – and, for whatever reason, the western side of the port of LA/Long Beach. Pretty much everything else people think of like Burbank, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, anything east of the 405 by the airport for miles – is not in the City, which is where this ballot measure would apply… and most of the other jurisdictions have pretty depressing homeless services offerings

  14. Uncle Jeff is right as well, to be clear. Under the state’s initiative law, the city council has either the option to codify the initiative as written, or submit it as a referendum to the voters, which they did here. There is no third option.

  15. @ Jsarfati

    Sounds like you left CA with plans to turn FL into a new CA.

    It is just “one side” as CA has been a 1 party state for decades and it’s turned into a toilet compared to what it once was.

    Florida doesn’t have these problems so yes…. “One side” is to blame.

  16. Yet another classic example from VFTW showing how the wording of an article can misdirect the narrative that follows and engage in the customary shite stirring.

    As @ Uncle Jeff and @ Jon have pointed out, the city council was obliged to respond to a proposal due to the number of signatures supporting such – the council had then to pass the proposal or refer it to a vote by the people.

    This background was missing from the article.

    The usual suspects are thus unleashed as their prejudices are fed by yet another fake narrative.

    Most, once again, are triggered without stopping for a moment to question, or seeking some background information.

    Apart from a couple, of commentators, there is a disturbingly sociopathic lack of empathy for the homeless and virtually zero consideration of any alternative solution. Cue the personal insults…

  17. @ platy — it is horrifoc than no one seems to care about the homeless. It is such a complex issue, but boils down to greed. Does 5% of the population need 2 homes, while 5% is homeless?

  18. Gene – well, it is real simple – those who have 2 homes obviously can afford them. The homeless, on the other hand cannot afford a home. The difference is that those who have 2 homes have earned the means to buy them while the homeless have taken a different path and would rather- (1) not work, (2) do drugs, (3) have decided to live the way they do because they do not have the tools to provide for themselves. The homeless are not the responsibility of those who are managing their own lives. There are people who are homeless because of circumstances they cannot control, but the vast majority of the homeless are homeless because they CHOSE to not do the things necessary to be self sufficient.

  19. They can put it on the ballot. Doubt it will pass. A better alternative would be to require vacant investment properties owned by Chinese, Russian, and Saudi foreign nationals to house homeless veterans. I think that could pass too.

  20. @ David Miller

    Homelessness is evidently a complex issue. The documented causes are many. And yes, addiction is a major / leading cause.

    But it could be hard to for you to evidence your statement “the vast majority of the homeless are homeless because they CHOSE to not do the things necessary to be self sufficient” rather than rely on your prejudice about homeless people and a selfish convenience within a non empathetic world view.

    Consider that one major cause is domestic violence – women and children fleeing abusive / violent relationships (national estimate is 50% of homeless women / children). How does that fit your statement? Similarly, what of the 63% teens displaced from home teens for reasons derived from physical / sexual abuse? Is it a child’s fault that there were abused or interfered with?

    An estimated 200,000 military veterans sleep on the streets, a by-product of post traumatic stress. Did they fail to make life decisions, which meet your favour, in the defence of their country?

    And why of the estimated 20-25% of homeless who are afflicted with mental illness failing to get the medical and society support they need?

    There are those who simply don’t earn as much as you (or didn’t inherit Mom and Dad’s bikkies) and are challenged by the lack of affordable housing. Are they worthy of your derision?

    FWIW your comment “The homeless are not the responsibility of those who are managing their own lives” is obviously incorrect, because you live in a community.

    Take a quick look at this (Australian based) program – it’s a gentle reminder that we are talking about real people.

  21. @ Gene

    “it is horrifoc than no one seems to care about the homeless. It is such a complex issue, but boils down to greed. Does 5% of the population need 2 homes, while 5% is homeless?”

    It’s greed. It’s selfishness. It’s lack of empathy. Many things. I have replied to @ David Miller with some stats and a link to counterpoint his particular perceptions / opinions, which, I guess, Gary will approve presently.

    In terms of causes for homelessness. It’s amazing to me that some herein would apparently not reach out to a woman who has been subjected to domestic violence, those sexually abused as children, veterans suffering from PTSD, etc. When I say reach out – simply be pleased that their neighbour in the hotel was being looked after.

    I personally help folk in all of these scenarios on an ongoing basis. IMHO it’s part of being a decent person.

  22. @ David R. Miller

    Are you the clone of @ David Miller?

    I only ask because cloning of farm animals is legal in the USA, aside from the successful cloning of the brown rat and the carp (amongst 20-odd other species).

    If your middle name was Ryan you’d have more respect for the data…;)

  23. The real question is will the homeless get elite nights credit or if they have elite status, will they be upgraded?

  24. Absurd, perhaps after this whats next the hotels will be required to provide complimentary meals as well to the homeless. And due to how the municipal mandate will be imposed perhaps it will not allow limits such as Hilton’s F&B credit offered to diamond members and instead be unlimited champagne brunches daily!

    If I were a hotel owner in that county now would perhaps be looking to sell now (And current real estate prices there should fetch pretty good!)

  25. @Jon

    I think Gary’s point regarding voluntarily purchasing shelter is that the city could try to work out contracts with hotels to voluntarily house homeless rather than requiring them to house homeless in however many open rooms they might happen to have at 2 pm without any choice on their part.

    Regardless of how the proposal came about, I think anyone with a brain must acknowledge that it’s an incredibly stupid one (not to mention being legally pretty sketchy under the 5th Amendment.)

    Ironically, if actually passed (which I would hope is unlikely,) this would be likely to create a lot of single-night homeless people out of travelers who need to book a room on or shortly before arrival, whether that be people on road trips who just book hotels on-the-fly each night or people who have had last-minute travel plan changes due to thinks like flight changes or cancellations.

  26. If this passes, forget credit card signup bonuses, free squatting at the Waldorf Beverly or equivalent is where the deal is at!

  27. @Ricardo
    Nazis were collectivists and leftists.

    and Pinochet is regarded as bringing Chile into a industrialized powerhouse.

  28. Koggerj. You are a fucking nazi scumbag!
    Sure, Hitler and Mussolini were proud socialists….You stupid piece of shit!

  29. Ricardo can you please tone it down with the profanity!

    This referendum will most likely not be passed once placed on the ballot. This is too extreme even in California

  30. Fascism and Nazism are two different things with fascism definitely being a product of the right and Nazis being, well, Nazis. The simplest explanation is that Nazism took socialist ideas and wrenched them far to the right by adding in elements of racism, something fascism doesn’t particularly value, plus extreme nationalism, which fascism does. Fascism came from the idea of corporatism, which isn’t what it sounds like and is mind-numbingly dull, so I’ll let you look that one up on your own.

    Both are anti-democratic, anti-capitalist, and anti-individualist. They, like Marxism, spring from anti-Enlightenment and anti-capitalist ideas of the 19th Century, approaching their opposition from different angles, although sometimes blending their attacks in bizarre combinations.

    People who use the word fascist tend to be left-wing and use it as an pejorative without having the slightest idea of what it stood for.

    No one want to be associated with the Nazis, hence, everyone tries to assign them to the other side. But Nazism is it’s own kind of evil that should pretty much be left in its own category. Unless someone directly touting Hitlerism, claiming they’re a Nazi is a slur that denigrates the victims of Nazism while also being inaccurate.

  31. @ Koggerj
    Absolutely, 100% correct.

    I LOVE that suggestion…. If THEY had to make accommodations, maybe then the radical socialists would re-think their insane proposals….

  32. @CMorgan

    “Ricardo can you please tone it down with the profanity!”

    How deliciously ironic that you find one swear word offensive, but make no comment on the stream of hatred that spews from the commentator it was directed towards!

    (Incidentally, Australian musician / comedian wrote a song, called The Pope Song. The basic premise was that people would find the swearing in the song offensive, but not the protection of kiddy fiddling pedophiles – those with a sense of humour might search it).

  33. @ vbscript2

    “Regardless of how the proposal came about, I think anyone with a brain must acknowledge that it’s an incredibly stupid one (not to mention being legally pretty sketchy under the 5th Amendment.”

    You may well be right.

    That said, there should theoretically be real-world data on the strengths and weaknesses of Project Roomkey from which to draw a realistic assessment of any proposed policy, whether in the affirmative or negative.

  34. Who pays the daily rack rate penalty if one of the clients fails to check out at 11 AM and holds over? The city?

  35. I’ve decided to go homeless. I’ll be moving to Los Angeles.

    I’ll be around the corner from the FS Beverly Whilshire

    Please come get me when my room is ready :0)


    Will I get Marriott Bonvoy points for my stay?

  36. Fascism is a product of the right? you gotta be kidding me
    Where do some of you learn your revisionist history.. Lord have mercy.

    Socialism/Communism/Fascism stems from the left.
    Always have, always will.

    On that note, the facsists in CA are giddy over this bill

  37. GARY is this a politics or a Travel form? If i wanted BS i would go to FoxNews and drink Koolaid.

  38. tomri – Go ahead, continue to watch CNN, MSNBC and any of the lying, liberal corrupt media outlets – there you will have a steady diet of bullshit which obviously you enjoy swallowing.

  39. The gov’t (both Fed & State level) needs to take responsibility for their INaction. They do NOT take care of our veterans. They do NOT do anything about closing the borders to reduce the drugs and illegal immigrants flowing into our country. They do NOT do anything about their wasteful spending which only exacerbates the problem of their not being able to create affordable housing for those who cannot afford shelter without a decent paying job. Taxpayers expect their funds to be used in a responsible way to create resources to rectify these problems. What is taxpayer money being used for? Hotels are businesses! It is totally unfair, unacceptable, and unAmerican, to hold Hotel businesses hostage – expecting them to alleviate problems gov’t has failed to handle properly! Hire people who know how to manage these situations, and get rid of the dead weight who are NOT doing their jobs! Stop sending all our money overseas to help everyone but those Americans who are stoking the coffers of the Treasury! How is it that America can be built on Capitalism, and so many can become legitimately wealthy from it, but those in government seem to shun it and can’t get out of their own way to solve these social problems that have been around forever? Seriously – gov’t needs to get some corporate help in the way of leadership! Too many people are in charge that don’t know what they’re doing! And too many in gov’t office are allowed to hang on until “the next election”! Corporations have it right – get rid of the dead weight when the problem is first discovered – not a few years down the road when problems have become insurmountable!

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