A new proposal by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas aims to clean up hotels that temporarily house the homeless by discouraging prostitution - but his proposal includes a controversial element.
His proposal would require hotels that receive county funds to house the homeless - $3.56 million in vouchers last year alone - to agree to anti-prostitution measures. They'd have to display a sex trafficking awareness poster, participate in training to spot sex-trafficking and make hotel guest lists available to law enforcement without a warrant....
OUR OPINION: Check out our previous posts by searching through this blog using the embedded Search feature in the side bar. Look for posts on HOMELESS CHILDREN, SEX TRAFFICKING, and PROSTITUTION, as well as MOTEL KIDS. We do consider these issues to be serious ones.
But we side here with Attorney Weiser.
First DPSS is overwhelmed with just handling the work load they have which has easily tripled in recent years as more and more people take food stamp benefits. It is unlikely they could do much in 30 days besides come up with some letter that they send to voucher motels. Let's say that a voucher motel would loose the opportunity to take DPSS vouchers if there were ANY ARRESTS... where would homeless people go? There are not enough motels that take homeless vouchers as is.
By the way some shelters also take these vouchers, which are good for a once in a lifetime two weeks. For instance Los Angeles Family Housing takes them - and there are no sheets, towels, or soap - just a cheap bed in an empty room.
PRIVACY RIGHTS are very important. We do not like that once you stay at a shelter you are on a database that outs you as homeless or once homeless. We don't trust the use of that database. IT JUST LEADS TO STEREOTYPING and PROFILING which is especially horrible for those who do not and never did fit the stereotype. Being homeless, you should not experience loosing your right to privacy. Who needs to know where you are really? It's YOUR BUSINESS.
Next, it has always been up to motels and hotels and shelters that take vouchers to keep an eye on prostitution and to contact local police BUT LET'S FACE IT THAT THEY DO NOT. The expensive motels and hotels do not either.
WHICH IS WHY SO MANY LOWER RENT MOTELS and VOUCHER MOTELS are already targeted by police when it comes to not only prostitution and sex trafficking, but drugs. Domestic violence seems to be a low priority even then.