LA turns to hotels to house the homeless

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 20 March 2020

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US: With 75 per cent of the city’s homeless population currently living on the streets, LA is looking to hotels to protect these residents as part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that 42 recreation centres will be converted into shelters for homeless residents, providing 6,000 beds in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On the same day, Governor Gavin Newsom announced $150 million in emergency funding to help move homeless people indoors in a bid to protect a vulnerable population and to prevent its medical system from being overwhelmed.

According to Yahoo Finance, Garcetti is now looking to house some of the 30,000 homeless within hotels in its next step towards controlling the pandemic. Failure to do so would result in “vectors exploding” across the city, he said.

“This is an immense undertaking logistically and it’s never been done this quickly in a city, anywhere,” Garcetti said. “If we don’t get folks off the street, they will become the main spreaders or among the main spreaders of COVID-19 and a threat to themselves.”

Garcetti made this announcement one day before declaring a ‘Safer at Home’ emergency order, urging LA residents to stop going to work and remain in their homes.

The order also prohibits all gatherings outside the home, with exceptions for essential business such as grocery shopping.

The order came into effect at midnight and will be in place until 19 April.

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