Mesa City Council votes 4-3 to convert Grand Hotel to facility for homeless
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The Mesa City Council voted 4-3 Monday evening to convert the 70-room Grand Hotel into a social services facility for certain people experiencing homelessness. The location will only serve seniors, families, and domestic violence victims who are experiencing homelessness.
The city of Mesa also plans to create a detailed report of safety measures taken at the Grand Hotel location and the surrounding area. Dozens showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting to share their thoughts ahead of the council vote, including some people who went through the city’s Off The Streets program, where temporary housing has been provided at the Windemere Hotel in Mesa. Those who have been in this program talked about what converting the Grand Hotel could mean for the homeless and Mesa as a whole.
“If I didn’t have a stepping stone to get to where I’m at today by having somewhere to stay and get through this situation, I would still be homeless,” one man said during the public comment portion of the council meeting.
“You can’t worry about what you’re going to eat, and your job, and your car you’re going to drive, and how your kids are going to get to school if your kids don’t have a place to live,” Councilmember Julie Spilsbury added. “I can honestly say that I believe our city will stick to what we’re saying we’re going to do.”
But not everyone was on board with this change. “How will you choose the new residents to be selected? By income or by skin color? By sex or by gender? Maybe by the age,” one man opposed to the conversion said.
“Solving one problem creates another problem, and it’s not a solution,” Councilmember Mark Freeman added. “I’m not in support of a homeless solution which creates a future financial burden for our general fund and a liability for our citizens of Mesa.”
The city of Mesa is only using federal money to convert the Grand Hotel. The vote came after neighboring cities like Tempe and Scottsdale also bought hotels to convert them into housing for people without homes.
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