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LA Hotel Converted to Homeless Housing Suffers $11.5 Million in Damages

LOS ANGELES TIMES – By the time the Mayfair Hotel shut its doors last year, the building had been through a wrenching, tumultuous period.

Windows at the 294-room boutique hotel, in L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood, had been shattered. Bathrooms had been vandalized. In some locations, carpet had been torn off the floor.

“Participant in [room] 1516 Threatened staff, Security, destroyed property. Screamed. Yelled cursed. Everything went wrong with her. Inside and outside the building,” wrote a worker with Helpline Youth Counseling Inc., a service provider assigned to the hotel, in early 2022.

Those and other incidents were described in emails sent to the city of Los Angeles during the final six months of the Mayfair’s participation in Project Roomkey, a federally funded initiative that transformed hotels across L.A. into temporary homeless shelters.

The emails, copies of which were obtained by The Times, depict a staff of security guards, nurses, hotel managers and others grappling with drug overdoses, property damage and what they characterized as aggressive and even violent behavior.

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“Around 10 am a male in 1526 assaulted another resident in Room 726,” a security guard wrote in March 2022. “The situation was quickly broken up and 1526 was escorted out by police.”

The city has quietly paid the hotel’s owner $11.5 million in recent months to resolve damage claims filed over Project Roomkey.

Now, Mayor Karen Bass wants the city to purchase the Mayfair and convert it into homeless housing once again.

But this time, residents, merchants and property owners are pushing back, saying they don’t want a return of the conditions they say they encountered when the Mayfair took in unhoused residents from Echo Park, Koreatown and other areas.

“The neighborhood is still recovering from Project Roomkey,” said Ruben Lares, who lives across from the hotel. “The purchase of the Mayfair would just completely destroy the community once again … ”

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