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AZ House bill prevents cities, counties from forcing hotels to accept housing vouchers

A new bill passed by the Arizona House of Representatives will ban cities, counties and towns from requiring hotels and motels to accept housing vouchers from people experiencing homelessness. 

The bill, HB 2379, was sponsored by Republican Rep. Matt Gress, who said he became concerned after the city of Los Angeles announced it would hold a public vote to make hotels accept these vouchers in 2024.

“We know that (hotels) are not equipped to handle individuals who are homeless," he said. "That's not their primary responsibility or mission, and I want to keep that misguided policy from infiltrating into the state of Arizona.”

The bill passed with a 31-29 vote on Tuesday.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the city of Phoenix website, it is available for "low-income individuals and families to provide safe and decent affordable housing."

The House bill will now go to the Senate and is the latest in a wave of anti-homeless legislation. Another bill, SB 1413, is currently in play and requires cities, counties and towns to get rid of homeless encampments within 24 hours of being notified.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the bill's premise that municipalities cannot require hotels and motels to accept housing vouchers from people experiencing homelessness.

Rithwik Kalale is an intern for KJZZ. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and is currently in his last semester of graduate school.Kalale has worked as a community and culture reporter for the State Press, as a health reporter for Arizona PBS and as an editorial assistant for Zócalo Public Square. He also produced and hosted his own show called "POP48" for Blaze Radio, ASU’s student station. His goal is to cover both digital and audio stories that spotlight underrepresented groups.Kalale is a Bay Area native, but splits his time between the U.S. and India, where his family lives. In his free time, Kalale likes to play video games, binge TV shows and attend concerts.