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Controversy Erupts as Bass Forces Homeless to Move From One Hotel to Another Hotel


March 19, 2023, 9:19 a.m. An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Annetta Wells, the mayor of Los Angeles’ director of community engagement, as Anita Wells.

Mayor Karen Bass’ homelessness team discovered a warm haven indoors for Princeton Parker, a 38-year-old living in a tent on L.A.’s Westside, four weeks ago.

Parker was overjoyed with his relocation to the Hotel Silver Lake on the outskirts of Silver Lake and Historic Filipinotown. The accommodations were spacious, and his camping buddies were nearby. “It felt like I had a place to call home,” he remarked.

Nevertheless, that arrangement was upended last week when Bass’ Inside Safe organisation quickly relocated him and approximately 20 others to a downtown Los Angeles hotel. When that site didn’t work out, Parker was transferred to a third Hollywood hotel. Since then, he has felt lonely and alienated.

“I was quite excited.” “The former Pasadena resident claimed to be staying at the Hotel Silver Lake. “Now they’ve simply taken that away from me.”

Bass Forces Homeless to Move from one Hotel to another Hotel

The comings and goings at Hotel Silver Lake highlight some of the logistical problems Bass faces as she strives to bring 1,000 people indoors through her Inside Safe initiative by Tuesday, her 100th day in office. Bass estimates that the city will have sheltered 4,000 people at that time. (The majority of the remaining 3,000 are being assisted by efforts put in place before Bass assumed office.)

So far, at least two of the mayor’s 13 Inside Safe operations have resulted in homeless persons being transferred from one hotel to another, and occasionally a third, eliciting sharp criticism from homeless groups.

“The purpose of Inside Safe is essentially to get folks off the street permanently,” said Meggie Kelley, a volunteer with Fairfax Mutual Aid, an organisation that distributes food and other supplies to homeless Angelenos. “Moving them from place to place does not provide them with stability. It displaces people from their communities.”

The incident has also highlighted the mayor’s lack of temporary housing options in various districts of Los Angeles.

Last month, Bass and her Inside Safe team relocated 43 homeless persons, including Parker, from encampments on or around 6th Street and Fairfax Avenue. Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, who participated in the operation, represents the region. Nevertheless, because her Westside district does not have enough interim housing, those residents were relocated to the Hotel Silver Lake in Councilmember Hugo Soto-area. Martinez’s

Yaroslavsky spokeswoman Leo Daube said his boss contacted Soto-Martinez ahead of time about using the hotel. “We did contact out… to make sure they were okay with it because it was in their district,” he explained. “And Hugo consented generously.”

Bass’ Inside Safe programme began relocating around half of the people from 6th and Fairfax out of the Hotel Silver Lake and into other sites on Monday, including the L.A. Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and the West Inn Hotel in Hollywood. Other people complained, claiming that they did not want to be uprooted.

The following day, a second batch of unhoused persons, this time from the Soto-region, Martinez’s was brought into the Hotel Silver Lake. Inside Safe began targeting various spots near Echo Park Lake on that day.

During his campaign last year, Soto-Martinez promised to tear down the fence that surrounds the lake, which was built in 2021 as part of a disputed clearing of a major homeless encampment. He has informed park residents that he will endeavour to keep homeless individuals out of the area. His first town hall on the fence removal was held on Thursday, just as the Inside Safe operation in Echo Park was coming to an end.

Soto-Martinez stated in an interview that there is no relationship between the Echo Park operation, which relocated 56 individuals indoors, and his desire to remove the fence from Echo Park Lake. “We’ve been working on both of those things separately,” he explained.

Soto-Martinez refused to clarify whether his Echo Park Inside Secure operation resulted in the eviction of others from the Hotel Silver Lake. He stated that the mayor should handle that matter. “Hotels and where people go are something that the mayor coordinates,” he explained.

Bass aide Zach Seidl denied that people were relocated from the Hotel Silver Lake to make room for Soto-unhoused Martinez’s residents. He stated that the transfer was done to “better the living conditions of the residents at 6th and Fairfax.”

Seidl did not provide any additional information. Likewise, Bass expressed concern about the treatment of residents of the 6th and Fairfax encampments.

Encampments, according to Bass, are “small communities” that function as support networks for their residents. People from the same campground being spread across three separate hotels is “not what I want to see,” she said.

Bass stated that she has been working with haste to get people off the street, despite the fact that some components of Inside Secure are still in the works. She stated that she cannot guarantee that the same issue will not occur again if, for example, her office detects concerns with a specific hotel. “If there is a need to move people, we will,” she stated.

The Hotel Silver Lake, according to Seidl, was never intended to be a long-term housing alternative for inhabitants of 6th and Fairfax. Carolyn Shayne Smith, a guest at the Hotel Silver Lake, reported receiving a different message.

Smith, who moved from the 6th and Fairfax neighbourhood last month, claimed she and other encampment occupants were promised they would stay in the hotel for up to a year, or until they could find permanent accommodation. That’s why the 53-year-old was surprised to learn from an outreach worker that they were being relocated after less than a month.

According to Smith, several inhabitants of the 6th and Fairfax encampment were only getting to know the surrounding neighbourhood and were using the Hotel Silver Lake as their return address when buying IDs.

Smith, who worked in interior design before experiencing a significant health crisis, requested an answer. According to her, an outreach worker told her that everyone needed to leave to make room for homeless persons arriving from the Soto area. Martinez’s “They said, ‘We have to shift you all to a different hotel; we’ll be here Monday at 9:30 – be packed and ready,'” Smith explained.

Smith and others objected to the transfer, contacting mutual aid workers and Yaroslavsky’s staff, who assisted them in advocating on their behalf. According to the mayor’s office, eighteen persons from the 6th and Fairfax encampment eventually stayed. Smith was one of them.

Others did not object to the move. Parker, for example, boarded the bus to the L.A. Grand on Monday and immediately expressed reservations after learning about some of the facility’s requirements.

Parker and the other newcomers were warned that L.A. Grand residents are not permitted to have guests, visit other people’s rooms, or congregate in hallways. “You’re always like a prisoner,” he remarked.

Parker stated that he stayed at the L.A. Grand for one night before leaving. He made an unsuccessful attempt to return to the Hotel Silver Lake. He’s currently staying at the West Inn Hotel in Hollywood, away from his other buddies.

When asked about the situation at the Hotel Silver Lake, Yaroslavsky expressed gratitude to Bass for her reaction to the homelessness crisis. She also stated that her office, the mayor’s team, and Soto-staff Martinez’s worked together to solve the needs of those who had been evicted from her area.

“What matters is that everyone who used to reside at 6th and Fairfax still has a roof over their heads and hasn’t fallen back into homelessness,” she said.

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