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May 05, 2023

Rep. Schiff Introduces Hotels to Housing Conversion Act

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) introduced the Hotels to Housing Conversion Act. This legislation would authorize $750 million in funding for state governments and housing authorities to work with local governments and community organizations to convert hotels, motels, and unused residential properties into emergency shelters, and transitional and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. The legislation would also fund wrap-around services like job placement, mental health resources, and legal help.

Homelessness continues to be a growing crisis in California. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 30% of all people experiencing homelessness in the United States were living in California. A recent report from the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles surveyed over 400 unsheltered people and found that 90% of respondents indicated interest in receiving housing, and 29% reported currently being on a waitlist for housing. Around 85% of respondents said they would accept offers of placement into permanent supportive housing, a hotel or motel, or a private shelter—however, two of the most common reasons respondents cited for not moving into housing were lack of privacy and housing safety. 

Additional challenges for the unhoused include mental health, physical health, job instability, and the housing shortage. The Hotels to Housing Conversion Act would help mitigate some of the barriers to housing by providing solutions that are private, safe, supportive, and responsive to community needs.

“Solving the homelessness crisis in California and around the nation requires an aggressive and collaborative effort at the federal, state, and local levels. The rising costs of living coupled with a shortage of affordable housing means we must use a range of strategies to get people into transitional and permanent housing. By converting hotels and motels into housing, and providing support services, we can help get people off the street and back on their feet,” said Rep. Schiff. “While converting hotels into housing is not a panacea, we should take solutions that work and put more federal funding behind those efforts.”

The Hotels to Housing Conversion Act is endorsed by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Community Development Association. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) and Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.).

The full bill text is available here.