“We do not feel Marina del Rey’s tourist attractions are a suitable location for homeless housing,” reads letter
By Sam Catanzaro
“We do not feel Marina del Rey’s tourist attractions are a suitable location for homeless housing,” reads a letter from local businesses in response to Councilmember Mike Bonin’s proposal to bring a temporary homeless shelter to Fisherman’s Village.
On June 14 a group of local businesses– led by the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau (MDR CVB)–sent a letter to LA County 4th District County Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Marina del Rey, in response to Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s proposal to make a temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or a safe camping site at the county-owned parking lot located at Fisherman’s Village.
“We do not feel Marina del Rey’s tourist attractions are a suitable location for homeless housing as these sites are frequented by visitors, families with children, and local residents who come to the area for recreation, boating, social celebrations, and direct access to the water,” reads the letter. “Building homeless housing within a small tourist destination surrounded by visitor attractions and accommodations where supportive services for the homeless are not available within the vicinity is a poorly thought-out solution for both the business sector and the homeless population in need of assistance.”
The letter went on to state that local tourism businesses are “eager” to collaborate with the County to support homelessness solutions. Proposals in the letter include taking a percentage of Marina del Rey’s hotel bed tax revenue and earmark it to support homeless initiatives and creating a homeless task force under the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s substation made up of local stakeholders. A similar task force previously existed in 2014 and 2015 in the Marina.
“Our tourism and hospitality sector is asking for a voice at the table, to discuss homeless initiatives and provide input as to how our industry can contribute to the solution as well as share concerns on how the tourism sector will be financially impacted by the current proposal being considered,” said MDR CVB CEO, Janet Zaldua.
The letter included data that showed how, prior to the pandemic, Marina del Rey was the largest revenue generator for Los Angeles County, outside of property taxes. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the total economic impact of tourism to Marina del Rey was $398 million and hotel bed tax totaled $11.3 million. In addition, the letter notes that Marina del Rey land leases generated $60 million for Los Angeles County in 2019 and that the community’s hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions generate close to 3,000 service level jobs for LA County residents.
“The tourism and hospitality businesses in Marina del Rey strongly believe that homeless pallets placed in the Marina near visitor attractions such as Fisherman’s Village, the public boat launch ramp, dining establishments, Visitors Center, or any of the Marina’s eight hotels will have a damaging effect on business and deter visitors and business travelers from coming to the Marina for recreation, business, or social celebrations. The boat launch ramp parking lot near Fisherman’s Village, which some speculate is a site being considered for homeless housing, is included in the LAX Airport Emergency Air/Sea Disaster Plan and would be used for various staging needs in the event of a disaster. It is also designated for use as an emergency landing zone for helicopters and ambulances to airlift life threatening trauma patients to nearby trauma centers,” the letter states.
On May 26, Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 with one abstention to approve Bonin’s proposal to look into bringing more housing for homeless individuals to the Westside.
Bonin introduced the proposal on March 31 to Council that would evaluate the feasibility of bringing a variety of projects to combat homelessness to locations across the Westside.
“Addressing our homelessness crisis requires a wide range of solutions, applied urgently and simultaneously, targeting different populations and focusing a variety of resources, across the City of Los Angeles,” reads the motion. “Homelessness across Southern California, Los Angeles, and the 11th District continues to increase, and much more must be done. Different interventions must be tried, and more locations must be identified.”
In addition to Fisherman’s Village, The motion also calls for looking into the feasibility of bringing similar housing options to the following locations across the Westside: Mar Vista (Mar Vista Park), Pacific Palisades (Will Rogers State Beach), Playa del Rey (Dockweiler Beach), Del Rey (private building at 5000 Beethoven Avenue), Westchester (Westchester Park) and West LA (West LA Municipal Building).
The motion also proposes a single-occupancy tiny-homes or safe camping sites on a property owned by Culver City for a joint LA-Culver City program and at an undetermined location at LAX. The motion also would instruct the City Housing Authority to work with Council District 11 and willing property owners to enter into master lease agreements for hotel rooms or apartment units to be used for homeless housing.