LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2020) — Nursing homes have been hit especially hard by coronavirus infections across Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times over 40% of deaths from the virus have been in nursing homes countywide. And healthcare workers in those homes, like workers at area hospitals, are often hesitant to go home at the end of their shifts, fearing they may bring the virus home to their families. National Community Renaissance,a Southern California based nonprofit that builds and manages workforce housing, is stepping in with an offer of free hotel rooms for nursing home and hospital workers. More information on the program and how to get free hotel rooms for healthcare workers is available at www.househealthcareworkers.org
“Many of the families we house in our housing programs work in healthcare. We want all service workers including custodians, cafeteria workers, nurses, therapists and other friends on the front lines of this COVID-19 crisis to know we’re here for them, offering free hotel rooms near where they work, within walking distance or a short drive away. We’re working with the facilities, the unions like SEIU and the workers directly to let them know about the program,” says Steve PonTell, CEO of National CORE.
National CORE is making a gift of $50,000 through its affiliate Hope Through Housing to provide free hotel rooms for healthcare workers. Using Whistle, a free text messaging program provided by the hotels, healthcare workers can check in, check out and order services (like additional towels) without any human interaction with the hotel staff, mitigating the possible spread of the virus
“We are pleased to participate in this program and work with National CORE and Whistle on this. It’s a win win for us as we’re experiencing record low occupancy during the crisis. Programs like these will help us keep our doors open and our team working,” says David Folkeson, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, near California Hospital, Good Samaritan, St. Vincent and White Memorial hospitals and the nursing homes near those medical centers.
Other participating hotels include the Hampton Inn in Santa Monica (near UCLA Westwood and Santa Monica Hospitals and St. John’s Hospital), the Roadway Inn in Hollywood, Hyatt Place in El Segundo, Mayfair Hotel near downtown and Sirtaj Hotel in Beverly Hills. More hotels will be added as their participation in the program is confirmed.
“Never has the need for housing, permanent or temporary, been more significant and pressing as it is now” said Kevin Harbour, President of the BizFed Institute, adding, “The BizFed Institute applauds the effort made by our Chair Steve PonTell and National CORE to step up, and ensure that we are caring for those who care for us. This is a time to act with immediacy for the greater good – that is what we stand for at the BizFed Institute and that is what we see in this spectacular effort.”
About National Community Renaissance
National Community Renaissance (National CORE) based in Southern California, is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of cost-contained high-performance apartment communities. National CORE manages more than 9,000 affordable, senior, workforce and market-rate units in California, Texas and Florida. For more information on National CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.
About the Hope through Housing Foundation
The Hope through Housing Foundation is committed to elevating the health, well-being, and self-sufficiency of low-income families and seniors. Hope through Housing delivers quality services onsite of more than 70 affordable housing sites, helping children and teens achieve success, improving families’ financial well-being, and promoting seniors’ health and well-being. For more information on Hope through Housing, please visit www.hthf.org.
Whistle is the number-one rated Guest Messaging Platform. With over 85% of travelers carrying their smartphone, Whistle allows hotels and guest to communicate via SMS Text Messaging and Mobile Messaging pre, during, and post-stay. Whistle enhances customer service through real-time guest engagement, helping boost service scores while streamlining internal communication and operations through team messaging. Visit: www.TryWhistle.com
About BizFed Institute (BFI)
The BizFed Institute educates, engages, equips and measures consensus solutions from civically minded, nonprofit, academic, and regional thought leaders for the purpose of building strong communities throughout California.
Q/A with Steve PonTell, CEO of National CORE and Chris Hovanessian, CEO of Whistle
Q. What made you come up with this idea?
A, We heard through our colleagues that healthcare workers are working long hours. It’s all hands on deck. And they don’t need the added stress of worrying about bringing the virus home to their families. We also know many hotels are closing or have minimal occupancy. Using Whistle, they can stay open, serve healthcare workers and minimize any human interaction to mitigate any possible spread of the virus. It’s a win/win for the healthcare workers and the hotels.
Q. What will the healthcare workers get?
A free hotel room. This program will pay for 1 to 3 nights and up to 5 nights a month per worker. Some hotels are offering free parking and discounted food which they can order through Whistle, or be directed to local restaurants where they can get pick up or food deliveries.
Q. When does it start?
It’s immediately available now. All healthcare workers need to do is go to househealthcareworkers.com and submit a request. We’ll then email them instructions on booking their room at participating hotel websites, including a code that will make the room free. The hotel will then send instructions on checking in and ordering services using Whistle.
Fast Facts on House Healthcare Workers Campaign
House Healthcare Workers was created by National Community Renaissance (National CORE), a nonprofit builder and manager of workforce and senior housing in California, Texas and Florida. Whistle is an Los Angeles based tech company that provides messaging services on text, WhatsApp and other platforms to hotels to use to communicate with their guests prior to arrival and throughout their stay. National CORE has committed to providing $50,000 in initial funding and is reaching out to foundations and philanthropists to join them in this campaign to temporarily house healthcare workers during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
The House Healthcare Workers program includes several hotels in the greater Los Angeles area who are equipped with Whistle. This allows the workers to check in, check out and order services (like more towels) with minimal interaction.
More information on the program and and registration for healthcare workers is available at www.househealthcareworkers.org
The program is available immediately and hotels are located throughout Los Angeles. Healthcare workers with questions on the program can email through the www.househealthcareworkers.org site or call Shirley at (800) 600-7111 x 226 or (213) 674-4346 x 226.