Barclay Hotel in downtown LA converts into housing for low-income, homeless families

The Barclay Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is adding its name to a list of classic hotels-turned-affordable lodgings for low-income families and the homeless.

“We want to show that you can have a housing model without charging too high a rent, especially in Los Angeles,” said Dominic Eastman, Happy Housing Foundation’s regional real estate director. “There are still people in need and there are still poor working class people who need good, safe housing.”

The Barclay Hotel offers 158 housing units, the prices of which range between 400-750 dollars per month. The rooms have a private bathroom and basic furniture. The hotel is now reviewing transition in applications from low-income and homeless communities.

“Most people come either from the camps, from shelters or from rehabilitation centres,” he added. “It’s really a variety of places they come from and we all shelter.”

Barclay is one of 11 Los Angeles area hotels to be converted into a single condominium. The Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles opened with 600 rooms available this month.

“It’s outrageous how much homeless housing costs and here we have the opportunity to do it at the speed of light, in less than a year, and at a fraction of the cost,” said association member Miguel Santiago. “If we had 100 more of these units, we could solve the homelessness problem in Los Angeles County, so this is an example of what works.”

Hotels provide not only room, but also social services for residents. State Senator Henry Stern says more low-income housing could be on the way.

“We have more projects like this, so we can ramp up the work, move beyond Project Roomkey or Homekey, to something more permanent and sustainable, so I think Los Angeles is ready,” Stern added.

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