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Project Room Key

Should hotels be forced to give vacant rooms to homeless people? This will be on the ballot in Los Angeles in 2024.

Southern California’s homeless problem is worse than ever and politicians have come up with the idea to require hotels to report all vacancies and offer them to the homeless. The idea was born from Project Roomkey, a program that did something similar during the pandemic. Project Roomkey is shutting down so city officials sought a way to make it more permanent.

Project Roomkey was voluntary. Hotels did not have to participate. This new measure would not be.

Hotels in Los Angeles say that requiring them to rent vacant rooms to the city’s homeless would put an undue burden on their businesses. The legislation would force them to report vacancies to the city’s housing department, which would create work for their staff, not to mention the extra laundry and cleaning.

Los Angeles city officials have not said how it would pay for this program. They only said that they would use “various funding streams.”

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