Three months ago, the Los Angeles Times called the Mayfair Hotel in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles “a 15-story hotel [that] could help L.A.’s mayor fight homelessness.”
That hope, however, could be dashed after recent reports indicate the hotel’s previous participation in a homeless housing program was a headache for staffers inside the building and neighbors outside it.
On Wednesday, the Times called the Mayfair’s time housing people as part of Project Roomkey “a wrenching, tumultuous period,” with the city paying $11.5 million to repair damage done to the building and its 294 rooms.
Drug use, vandalism, fights and other nuisances have area residents and business owners pushing back against L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’ plan to purchase the hotel to use as homeless housing.
“I don’t want them back in this neighborhood,” neighbor Darlene Adderison told the Times. “I want my peace. I am 66 years old and I want my peace.”
Bass claims things will be different this time, as once the city buys and renovates the building — estimated cost $83 million, which doesn’t include the money spent to repair damage — it will be run differently than Project Roomkey, which was created in response to the pandemic and did not offer some social services.
As part of Bass’ Inside Safe program, the new homeless housing at the Mayfair would include counselors, mental health specialists and rules forcing residents to be “a good neighbor,” said Mercedes Marquez, the mayor’s homelessness czar.
Despite those assurances, not everyone is convinced.
Criticism of the project published by CityWatch Los Angeles noted that “the Mayor’s office is attempting to railroad this project through with not one public notice, not one community meeting and no outreach to the predominantly Latino neighborhood.”
Other critics, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its housing advocacy division, Housing is a Human Right, say the cost of the Mayfair is too high, as the $83 million figure equates to about $282,000 per unit.
“$83 million is approximately one-third of the current Inside Safe budget of $250 million … AHF and Housing Is A Human Right would instead like for the Council to explore other options where $282,000 could be used for permanent housing for our unhoused community, including utilizing adaptive reuse of existing buildings,” the organization said in a statement.
The L.A. City Council is set to vote on acquiring the Mayfair on Friday.