The housing crisis is worsening in Los Angeles, where an estimated 60,000 people remain unhoused in Los Angeles County and thousands more are on the cusp of evictions, even as 20,000 hotel rooms remain vacant across the region. This comes as a new ballot measure could require hotels to house homeless people in vacant rooms. The measure is backed by California’s largest hospitality union, UNITE HERE Local 11, and attempts to revive a statewide pandemic policy known as Project Roomkey, which, now set to end, provided vouchers for people experiencing homelessness to use at hotels and motels. “Project Roomkey is one piece of the puzzle,” says Kurt Petersen, co-president for UNITE HERE Local 11, who, along with UCLA professor Ananya Roy, notes massive investments are desperately needed to secure permanent affordable housing. We also speak with former Echo Park Lake encampment resident Will Sens Jr., who is in Project Roomkey and says the program provided stability for him and others.
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