- Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed Arizona House Bill 2379, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gress, R-Ariz., and five other Republican co-sponsors, which proposed hotels and motels cannot be required to accept government-issued vouchers to house people who are homeless.
- Hotels and motels in Arizona have never been required to accept a voucher to house someone, and no proposal to do so is under consideration, Hobbs, a Democrat, said in an April 18 statement addressing the veto.
- American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Chip Rogers released a statement expressing his “disappointment” in the veto and raised concerns about hotel employee safety and similar legislation in California.
“At its core, this bill was about keeping hotel employees safe. It would have prevented the government from requiring Arizona hotels to house the homeless,” Rogers said in the statement. “At the American Hotel & Lodging Association, we are currently fighting against a proposed mandate to house homeless in Los Angeles, Calif., hotels. [Arizona House Bill] 2379 would have served as a vital safeguard to prevent these harmful policies from spreading to Arizona.”
The California mandate in question is the Los Angeles Responsible Hotel Ordinance, a measure requiring the city’s hotels to rent vacant rooms to people who are homeless in an effort to address a lack of affordable housing and prevent burden on the city’s social and transportation services. In August, the LA city council voted to send the measure to the ballot in 2024.
Unite Here Local 11 — a union representing hundreds of LA hotel workers — showed its support for the proposal: “The Responsible Hotels Ordinance will help address the affordable housing crisis by ensuring that hotel developments do not displace affordable housing.”
In 2022, there was an affordable housing shortage of nearly 500,000 units in Los Angeles County, leaving many people on the brink of homelessness, according to data from the county’s chief executive office.
Though some people, including Laura Lee Blake, president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, argue that hotels are not a suitable solution to affordable housing shortages, “turning hotels into partial homeless shelters without training, resources, and wrap-around services will only create problems and safety concerns,” Blake said in a LinkedIn post in response to the LA mandate.
Hobbs denied that a similar policy is being considered in Arizona and said the state should instead “focus on the real problem of housing affordability by making sure housing assistance can be used where it’s intended” and “building enough units for low- and middle-income households to afford.”