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From Hotel to Homeless Shelter

WOODLAND HILLS, CA - Homeless encampments have taken over some streets in Los Angeles and have even migrated to parts of the San Fernando Valley. In Woodland Hills city officials decided to renovate the 818 Hotel into a homeless shelter to keep people off the streets. City communications director Jack Flynn said the hotel can house up to 100 families in need.

Photo credit: Ruby Cordova

“The reality again are – the numbers that I see are 17,000 LAUSD kids are homeless,” said Flynn. “Now that always – that doesn’t mean they’re living in tents it’s usually a far more complex issue.”

The 818 Hotel is located on Ventura and Winnetka streets. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl heard about the hotel and is working on buying the location. Some residents are having trouble getting used to the idea.

In an updated report, the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization sent a letter to Councilman Bob Blumenfield, one of the city officials in charge of the project, expressing their deep concerns on its location.

Flynn says the location wasn’t chosen by the County. The decision for the renovation comes after the owners unfortunately passed. Their final request was to turn the hotel into a homeless shelter and their children have decided to work on the issue.

“This family wants to sell it for homeless housing. We are hyper focused on creating as much – as many services as we can in our district,” said Flynn.

Though this housing center is needed, most of the controversy centers around the idea that the location is too close to Taft High school. High school student Aaron Gordon doesn’t see any problems.

“I feel like – it’s just like, homeless people deserve a home you know? Like they’re out here in the cold, in the hot all day and like they,” said Gordon, “They deserve to have somewhere to sleep you know on a bed.”

Kuehl has applied for state funding, and it might be approved sometime in March.

Considering that the hotel won’t have any prerequisites for appliers, Councilman Blumenfield has requested to make the hotel strictly for senior citizens; however, nothing has been approved.

City officials are also planning upcoming meeting for citizens to voice even more of their concerns.

Video credit: Ruby Cordova

Video credit: KRDO NewsChannel 13

By: Ruby Cordova

Contributions from Valley News Group

Video: Ruby Cordova, KRDO NewsChannel 13

Photo: Ruby Cordova


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