If you thought the homeless crisis in California couldn’t get any worse, then get ready for the fallout expected from a measure that Los Angeles politicians have put on the March 2024 ballot.
The proposed measure, called the “Responsible Hotel Ordinance” would mandate that L.A. hotels report to the city every evening on the number of vacant rooms it has — which they would then have to fill with homeless individuals. The city says the mandate comes with a little compensation - taxpayer-funded vouchers of “fair market value” as determined by the city of course!
The proposal is an extension of the controversial program backed by California politicians called Project Roomkey. Launched in March 2020 by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Democrats with Covid-19 as the justification, the program used taxpayer funds for motel vouchers. A number of state and local agencies, such as the City of LA, embraced the program and began offering taxpayer-funded hotel and motel vouchers to the homeless.
While Republicans and activists have proposed solutions that prioritize and factor in one of the main drivers of chronic homelessness, mental health and addiction, liberal politicians have moved forward with policies prioritizing housing - seemingly at any cost and with no strings attached.
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, opposes the program and says the proposal fails to address the actual causes of homelessness and will make the problem even worse.
“This ballot measure seeks to infringe on the property rights by forcing hotels to house clientele that will harm their business,” said DeMaio.
“We need to commit instead to provide shelter beds in properly-managed facilities that require residents to follow clean, sane and sober rules and accept treatment,” DeMaio adds.
“The ballot measure is also a dangerous waste of taxpayer dollars — not only does it not address the root causes of homelessness, but it invites opportunities for crime and grime to grow in LA and add insult to injury on lost business for these hotels,” said DeMaio.
DeMaio points to numbers released by LA City officials themselves, which cite that the city has spent $40 million to house 1,400 homeless individuals in motels — and only about 77, or 6%, of them have moved to permanent housing. And the city has greenlit another $260 million for the program — which could expand further if the ballot measure requiring hotels to cooperate passes in March.
“Just think about it: the city is paying to place homeless individuals in hotel rooms at over $180 per night, and for a whole month, that comes out to $5,000 dollars or more — that’s more than most people's rents!” explained DeMaio.
But not only is the hotel voucher program expensive, it’s dangerous.
In San Diego, two homeless registered sex offenders were arrested and arraigned on multiple felonies related to the alleged rape of multiple underage girls at an El Cajon motel. The sex offenders used Project Roomkey vouchers to rent the motel room.
According to the police, one of the sex offenders had sexually explicit video on his phone showing both engaging with an underage girl.
“The liberal politicians in support of Project Roomkey and its related programs are responsible for letting sex predators run wild on the taxpayer dime — and who knows what other crime and grime will be unleashed in communities if the hotel voucher scam continues,” explained DeMaio.
"Of course, I don't expect these politicians or their cover in the liberal mainstream media to do anything about it,” he continued.
DeMaio says the only way to fix the homeless crisis is to drop the idea of “Housing First” — the idea championed by California’s liberal politicians that the homeless crisis will be solved if the homeless are provided with a home — and instead focus on the root causes of homelessness.
According to a study by the American Journal of Community Psychology, 75% of chronically homeless individuals have substance abuse or severe mental illness.
Proponents of Housing First claim that if you provide a homeless person with a free permanent housing unit, they will then have the ability to get off drugs and reclaim their mental health.
But numerous studies have shown this lofty claim by Housing First advocates is false. In fact, studies by the Archives of General Psychiatry and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Housing First had no effect on treating or improving substance abuse and mental health issues among the chronically homeless.
“Simply handing over keys to an expensive housing unit or a hotel room will not change the dysfunction and disease inside a person that made them homeless in the first place,” DeMaio warns.
That’s why DeMaio and Reform California are leading a “People First” campaign to address the root causes of chronic homelessness and finally clean up our streets — without rooming the homeless in expensive hotel suites!