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L.A. County Will Sue to Open Coronavirus Hotel in Norwalk for Houseless Population


BY BRIAN HEWS • April 23, 2020

Norwalk city officials are up in arms saying they were not consulted by L.A. County to open a motor hotel in their city to house houseless people in danger of contracting the coronavirus as part of Project Roomkey.

Attorneys for the county are going to federal court claiming that their court-ordered project to help house houseless people are being blocked by other cities, including Bell Gardens.

Norwalk officials knew of what was going on so this past Tuesday they voted to impose a temporary ban on hotel conversions without prior city approval, passing an emergency ordinance.

Just one day later, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger authorized the county to sue Norwalk.

“That action is an attack on Project Roomkey, injecting an illegal city approval process to a program that has been expressly authorized under state law, attempting to supersede the clear authority of the state and the county to address the COVID-19 emergency without delay,” the order said.

Norwalk City Manager Jesus Gomez indicated Norwalk also may go to court to enforce its measure and to prevent the contract with the hotel from going into effect, but since it is a statewide mandate, it might not work.

City Attorney Arnold Glasman said, “We are not saying there cannot be housing made available for homeless or COVID-19 individuals, the ordinance is saying that any permission to allow that to occur must be approved by the city.”







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