AH&LA: 6,500+ hotels willing to house, support health workers

The American Hotel & Lodging Association introduced an initiative Tuesday aimed at helping hotels support health-care workers struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels for Hope has identified more than 6,500 properties nationwide located near health-care facilities that are willing to provide temporary housing to the health community and first responders.

To help match and streamline the process, the AH&LA is working to create a Hotels for Hope database at the federal level with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as at the local level with industry partner state associations. Local, state and federal government officials will be able to search willing properties based on geographic location.

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Hotels interested in joining the Hotels for Hope initiative can sign up here.

“As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support and help strengthen our communities and first responders who are on the frontlines of dealing with this ongoing public health crisis,” Chip Rogers, president/CEO of the AH&LA, said in a statement. “Hotels have always been an active member of our local communities, and this time is no different. AHLA, in partnership with our partner state associations, are proud to work on behalf of our member companies to facilitate partnerships with federal, state and local governments to support the health community during this critical time.”

Already, hotels have volunteered to assist local governments with housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported Chicago planned to rent thousands of rooms to individuals diagnosed with the disease and those who are believed to have been exposed. By Tuesday, it estimated the city would have more than 1,000 rooms across five hotels, including the 215-room Hotel One Sixty-Six Magnificent Mile. Mayor Lori Lightfoot estimated Monday there would be more than 2,000 rooms available by the end of the week, according to the Tribune.

“The number of hotels wanting to be part of the program is growing by the hour,” Michael Jacobson, CEO/president of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a statement. “Our hotels are answering the call to action, and they want to be helpful to the city and the state.”

In San Francisco, officials have sent out requests to local hotels for help housing homeless residents, health-care workers and first responders with nowhere to isolate during the pandemic, reported The Mercury News. According to the publication, the city has received responses from more than 30 hotels offering up to about 8,500 empty rooms.