Today’s Solutions: March 01, 2024

Communities around the world are under shelter in place orders, but staying home is not an option for homeless populations. A Los Angeles hotel is hoping to protect the health of its community’s most vulnerable residents by opening their doors to those living on the streets. 

The hotel, which chose to remain anonymous for privacy and safety concerns, is located in West Los Angeles and its rooms usually go for $400 a night. It began taking in residents the first week of April and by last week, it had filled half its occupancy. The hotel is the first in a series which will collaborate with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to get homeless individuals, specifically at-risk individuals, off the streets and out of overcrowded shelters. 

Outreach staff are connecting community members with the hotel which maintains a guest list of referred residents. Individuals check in and are given a room key just like any other hotel guest. LAHSA hopes to fill 15,000 empty hotel rooms throughout the city with people in need. They have already made agreements with 11 hotels to begin working towards this goal. 

Non-profits, such as the St. Joseph Center, are also helping out with the initiative. Volunteers conduct safety inspections on guests’ luggage and treat items for bed bugs before they enter the hotel. The team has also coordinated medical assessment and treatment for individuals and set aside 900 isolated rooms across the city for quarantine for those who test positive for COVID-19. 

The initial plan is to offer housing to homeless populations for at least 90 days. The team will reassess housing need and availability as the pandemic progresses. We shared a story last week about hotels in cities housing nurses and doctors with high exposure to COVID-19. This is another great solution for using existing infrastructure to protect vulnerable populations during the pandemic. 

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