Blue City Weighs Spending Millions On Ritzy Hotel To House Homeless

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is pushing the city to buy a massive luxury hotel, currently listed at $69 million, to house the homeless, according to a city memo.

Bass’ office listed the acquisition of the Mayfair Hotel, a 294-unit building which hosted the first Oscars after-party in 1929, as the first item among its purchasing priorities for the city’s Inside Safe program, a program designed to move homeless people into city-funded housing, during fiscal year 2023-2024. Los Angeles would spend $250 million acquiring the Mayfair and eight other motels around the city, totaling another 200 rooms, if the city council grants the funds requested in the memo. (RELATED: San Francisco Spent $160 Million Only To Have Homeless People Die In Rat Infested Hotels)

The Mayfair underwent major renovations in 2018, led by designer Gulla Jónsdóttir, who also oversaw the remodel of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel took out at least $38 million in loans to cover the costs of the renovation, which drew on themes of old Hollywood and the Roaring ’20s, and included an alfresco cigar patio. The hotel also has a pool, rooftop bar and lounge, according to a real estate listing.

The city told the Los Angeles Times that buying the hotel would reduce Inside Safe’s leasing costs and become an important source of “permanent interim housing,” meaning free housing for homeless people for one year inside city-owned residences; the city did not say what it planned to pay for the hotel, which had also provided temporary housing to the homeless through the city until it closed its doors in 2022.  Substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and public health professionals would be available on the hotel’s ground floor.

“There’s no shortcut to do this. You can warehouse people in a shelter if you want, and they’ll stay there for a couple of days and they’ll be right back out on the street,” Bass said, according to the LA Times. “We have to think outside of the box, and maybe a little bit outside of the boundaries of what the city is normally doing.”

Bass declared a homeless state of emergency in December. About 69,114 homeless people were living in Los Angeles County in February, approximately 4.1% more than in 2020, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2022 Homeless Count.

Bass’ office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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