Battle of the Housed vs. Unhoused in West Hollywood

Nimbyism comes to WeHo as locals fume at a proposed 23-room “homeless transition facility”

WHEN it comes to helping the homeless, there has been no more loudly progressive place on earth than West Hollywood—at least until its city council decided to plant a halfway house for the homeless at the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega boulevards. Pushback against a proposed 23-room “homeless transition facility” to be housed in the former Holloway Motel—nestled between a CVS and an IHOP, a block from the Soho House’s new Holloway House—has been ferocious since the council approved the development back in June.

“First, we had homeless people on the street chasing people on their way to Gelson’s,” says one angry, 30-year resident. “Then, they got meth and knives. This is no time to invite them to live here.” Adds another resident, “There are drunks sleeping on the streets in that area, on the stairs, at the bus stop. I’m afraid to go there after 6:30 p.m.”

An opening date hasn’t yet been announced for the house, which is being paid for by a $6 million grant from West Hollywood’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. But while WeHo’s council acknowledges that it has received complaints—“The mayor, mayor pro tempore, and councilmembers are addressing them,” a spokesperson notes—it remains committed to the project, quietly assuring residents that its occupants will be transitioning into jobs and living spaces of their own after they cycle through their 30-to-90-day stays.

That hasn’t exactly calmed the neighborhood.

“There is no transparency in this inside deal that puts a homeless transition camp in the heart of city center,” fumed an employee of nearby Barney’s Beanery at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting.

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This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Los Angeles magazine