Downtown LA Hotel Used To Help Combat Homelessness Will Remain Open After All — For At Least A Year
Los Angeles city officials have announced that a downtown hotel used to shelter unhoused Angelenos during the pandemic will not close at the end of January as originally planned.
Instead, the L.A. Grand Hotel now will remain open until Jan. 31 of next year, according to Zach Seidl, the communication director for L.A. Mayor Karen Bass. Seidl said the city is looking into master leasing the hotel.
In its most basic form, master leasing involves cities leasing an entire building (making the city the master lease-holder) and then subleasing those units to whoever they want — in this case unhoused people.
“We are trying to identify housing anywhere and everywhere — any strategy and every strategy to move people indoors, permanently,” he said.
Two people living at the hotel said they’d been giving notice to leave in mid-December, but officials never followed up or required them to leave.
“Now I don't know if I'm gonna get a new kick-out date or what, but that's what I gotta start working on now,” said Mario Rodriguez, after hearing that the hotel would remain open.
Rodriguez has lived at the hotel for more than two years and said he was living in fear for weeks due to not knowing if he'd need to suddenly vacate.
Criticism Of Communication About Hotel Status
Suzanna Hartnett was staying at the hotel until Monday when she said staff abruptly ordered her an Uber and sent her to a congregate shelter in Leimert Park. It was the first time she was notified of where she’d be relocated.
“They just need more communication with that whole hotel,” she said, explaining that residents have been under stress and unaware of the city officials’ plans for the hotel. “Nobody knew. Nobody knows anything other than everybody's telling you something different."
Hartnett said news of the announcement was upsetting — she said the shelter she was transferred to has leaks because of recent rain and that the heating is inadequate. She has to share her room and a bathroom with multiple people. At the L.A Grand Hotel she had a private room.
Hartnett said she’s frustrated with City Hall and the way officials have handled people living at the L.A Grand Hotel since Bass came into office last month.
“You got people right here in your own part of town that you're not helping,” she said.
Details Of The Inside Safe Program
The L.A. Grand Hotel is the last remaining site for Project Roomkey — a federally funded program that used hotels across the region to temporarily house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Last month Bass launched Inside Safe — a citywide directive that includes plans to shelter thousands of unhoused people in hotels and motels.
Earlier this week, Ahmad Chapman, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority — which runs the hotel as a Project Roomkey site — said all remaining residents at the L.A. Grand Hotel had been given notice to leave on or before Jan. 31.
He added that most people at the L.A. Grand Hotel have received a housing voucher or subsidy, and are looking for permanent housing.