Los Angeles’ Homelessness Referendum, Explained

A homeless encampment lines a street in Skid Row on December 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Los Angeles has a new idea to tackle the city’s homeless crisis: placing the homeless in hotels with room vacancies.

The Hotel Housing Voucher Program—included in the proposed Responsible Hotel Ordinance set to appear before voters on their March 5 primary election ballot—would mandate hotels to report all vacancies to the city by 2 p.m. daily. The city would then send homeless families and individuals to hotels, along with a prepaid voucher determined at a “Fair Market Rate.” 

All Los Angeles hotels would be subject to this program—from Motel 6 to the Ritz-Carlton—and prohibited from refusing homeless guests.

The Responsible Hotel Ordinance was put forward by Unite Here Local 11, a labor union representing more than 32,000 employees in various sectors such as hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers, as stated on their website.

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