L.A. Looking To Motels To House City's Homeless

With Los Angeles' homeless crisis rising sharply over the last six years (more than 75%), city officials are struggling to find ways to house the city's nearly 55,000 residents who lack a permanent address. Now, L.A. may try to get motel owners to convert their rooms into homeless shelters with a new ordinance.

City Attorney Mike Feuer says motels could be a quick fix to the city's homeless issues. "Motels are infrastructure that already exist, they're often underutilized. And they could hold the key to creating housing right now."

Councilman Jose Huizar says motel owners can get permits to convert their motels over on the spot. "It allows private property owners who own motels, to by right, to convert their motels," Huizar said. 

L.A. is home to about 382 motels with a combined 10,259 guest rooms. The new ordinance would ease regulatory barriers for motel owners who want to convert their rooms into shelter space. The units in the building wouldn't be subject to L.A.'s rent control laws, but, subsidies would be provided by the city. 

About 350 motels will receive the offer from the city, Huizar says. "These are more short-term things, now that we have a long-term plan in place, things that we can do more immediately." 

Of course there's no guarantee that motel owners take the city up on its offer. The owners would be required to convert the entire property into shelter space. 

Photo: Getty Images

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