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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: How L.A.'s hotel industry is stepping up in the COVID-19 crisis

Coronavirus hotel
Belongings are pushed through the lobby of a West L.A. hotel that has been turned into housing for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Contrary to the picture painted in the April 8 editorial, hotels in Los Angeles have worked tirelessly with the county and the city to identify and immediately make available thousands of beds for use as shelters. Any delay in room availability is due to a rigid public contracting process needing to adapt to an unprecedented effort.

Moving thousands of unsheltered individuals indoors without proper health and safety precautions poses additional risk to the very people we are trying to help. At a time when most stakeholders are working collaboratively to support our region’s COVID-19 needs, it is unfortunate our time is wasted responding to uninformed and misdirected attacks on the industry.

I am proud to say that Los Angeles hotels immediately answered the call to ensure the safety of unsheltered individuals and the well-being of tens of thousands of our employees when the coronavirus struck. We have:

• Volunteered more than 20,000 rooms from about 250 Los Angeles hotels to support the COVID-19 response. These rooms are reserved for individuals experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, elderly people and medical personnel.

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• Worked around the clock with local officials to align hotel rooms with public need and engage daily with public health officers, elected leaders and public service providers.

Unprecedented challenges require unprecedented action, and we are honored to be a part of the solution at a time when the answer is not always clear.

Heather Rozman, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of the Hotel Assn. of Los Angeles.


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