VENICE- The hotel that housed residents from the Penmar encampment and is used by Saint Joseph's Center for Project Roomkey signed an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office to resolve investigations linked to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Rodeway Inn, located at 11933 West Washington Boulevard, signed its agreement with the US Attorney's Office on July 13, 2020, during the same time the hotel was being used by Saint Joseph's Center for taxpayer funded rapid rehousing and project roomkey programs and just a few months prior to Councilmember Mike Bonin's Encampment to Home Program.
Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, local officials scrambled to rent hotels for homeless people who had been identified as especially vulnerable because of their age or medical conditions under Project Roomkey.
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The unhoused Penmar residents were relocated to the Rodeway Inn last October. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and St. Joseph's Center led the efforts. Costs for the two-month program totalled more than $200,000 for [just] room and board. The program only lasted until early January because of significant issues the Penmar group had with the community.
The settlement came after federal investigations into more than 27 hotels in Southern California revealed non-compliance with various provisions of the ADA pertaining to "public accommodations,'' the hotels agreed to remedy the violations, with some agreeing to stop the illegal practice of charging more for accessible rooms -- a ``disability tax'' of up to $25 when compared to similar non-accessible rooms.
According to ADA settlement documents, the Rodeway Inn reservation website did not allow individuals with disabilities to reserve guest rooms with accessible features. The document also shows that only one room in the hotel had accessible mobility features required under ADA laws.
Various hotels agreed to relief that includes adding additional accessible rooms and communication features for guests with disabilities, ensuring that booking websites provide sufficient information about accessible features, and the payment of civil penalties.
Other hotels that have entered into settlement agreements are:
- The Knights Inn Los Angeles Central/Convention Center;
- The Mayfair Inn in Ontario (formerly called the Knights Inn Ontario);
- The Red Roof Inns in San Dimas-Fairplex and Santa Ana;
- Rodeway Inn & Suites in Harbor City, and in the Riverside County communities of Beaumont, Canyon Lake and Corona
- Rodeway Inns, one near Venice Beach and a second in Encino;
- The Santa Fe Inn (formerly Rodeway Inn Near LA Live); and
- Super 8 hotels located in Cypress, Hollywood, Inglewood, North Hollywood, Redlands and Torrance.
- Ten entities have signed letters of resolution and agreed to come into compliance with the ADA. They are:
- Rodeway Inn & Suites in Hollywood and Lynwood;
- Two Rodeway Inn locations, one near Maingate Knott's and one known as Regalodge in Glendale;
- Vantage Point Inn (formerly known as Knights Inn Woodland Hills);
- Super 8 locations near LAX, and in Pasadena, Santa Clarita and San
- Luis Obispo
- Red Lion Hotels Corp
"It is unfair and illegal for private entities that own or operate public accommodations such as hotels to discriminate against people with disabilities,'' said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. "I commend the hotels in this district that have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring full access for persons with disabilities by cooperating in our investigations and by agreeing to comply with the ADA.''
City News Service contributed to this article