Georgia city eases hotel-stay limit on concern for homeless

A northeast Georgia city says some people can stay in hotels past current limits, but need documents proving they have no other place to stay.

The Gainesville City Council approved the changes Tuesday, including limiting people to staying 15 days at a time in a regular hotel and 30 days at a time in an extended stay hotel.

The Times of Gainesville reports people would be exempt from the limits if they have documents from a nonprofit agency stating that a person would be homeless if forced from an extended-stay hotel. Also exempt from limits would be workers whose employers have long-term contracts with hotels, people displaced by fires or disasters, or people with relatives in medical facilities.

A proposal requiring people to wait two weeks between hotel stays was removed.

Exceptions to the stay limits were made after advocates for the homeless said restrictions could further destabilize their lives.

City officials said long stays in hotel can create safety problems like cluttered rooms and improper cooking.

Gainesville earlier banned sleeping in public spaces and banned new homeless shelters in part of town.