AIDS Healthcare Foundation has opened a renovated hotel for 220 homeless — and the non-profit foundation did it four times faster, and at less than half the cost, of what the City of L.A. is spending on its first few units of homeless housing that won’t open until August of 2019.
“While the city talks about getting things online immediately, we are doing something,” AHF President and co-founder Michael Weinstein said.
The city’s glacial pace — and the staggering estimated cost of $421,000 per unit for homeless housing — has set off a debate over why Mayor Eric Garcetti is testing the waters for a possible presidential run, while his own departments seem frozen in addressing L.A.’s growing humanitarian crisis.
AHF opened the repurposed Madison Hotel on Skid Row at a Valentine’s Day celebration after spending only a few months to renovate and furnish the Madison.
Meanwhile, although the City of Los Angeles owns more than 100 underutilized city properties, some of which could be used to house the homeless, Los Angeles officials are mired in red tape.
Weinstein this week told Madeleine Brand, on KCRW’s Press Play, “I will put out this challenge to the city right here and now, ‘Sell us some of those properties at the lowest price you can, and we will develop them.’”
No word yet on whether Garcetti is taking up the AHF challenge.
Non-profit AHF, the world’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care, plans to open thousands of units of homeless housing. Its experiences in providing HIV/AIDS healthcare, regardless of the ability to pay, has brought the non-profit into constant contact with patients who need not only medicine, but a roof over their heads.