LOS ANGELES - On her first day in office as mayor, Karen Bass declared homelessness a state of emergency in Los Angeles. Now less than a week into her term, concerns are growing over how a hotel for the unhoused is being used.
In December 2021, the infamous Cecil Hotel in downtown was converted into an affordable housing complex and in August 2022, a motion was filed to turn the hotel into permanent housing for the homeless. But early numbers showed just 73 of the 600 available units were occupied.
Fast-forward a year, and still only a third of the rooms are occupied, according to a report from the LA Times. Now many are wondering why all 600 rooms are not being occupied.
Andy Bales inquired about a master lease of an entire wing of the hotel to house the graduates of Union Rescue Mission's recovery program.
"$1,242 for a 160 square foot room that doesn’t have a kitchen or a bath is just not marketable," Bales told FOX 11.
Not everyone Bales wants placed, qualify for Section 8 voucher. He suggests bringing the cost of rent down to make rooms more affordable.
The Cecil is a privately funded housing project. FOX 11 attempted to contact hotel management, as well as the company that invested $80 million in hotel renovations, but all calls went unanswered.
The low occupancy rate of the Cecil Hotel seems ironic as LA faces a growing homeless crisis.
The emergency declaration, which is scheduled to last six months, allows Bass to take more aggressive executive actions to confront the crisis, though the City Council will have to sign off on it every 30 days.