Cecil Hotel’s Unhoused Residents Decry Filth and Violence

There’s something lurking in the dark corners of L.A.’s Cecil Hotel. But it’s not ghosts, the inn’s formerly unhoused tenants say. It’s vermin

To re-cap, the infamous hotel was recently converted into homeless housing. It’s a for-profit venture run by Simon Baron Development in partnership with Skid Row Housing Trust.

The building is about halfway occupied, but no one has been overseeing things. Hopes for an on-site service provider never panned out.

Tenants who spoke with the Los Angeles Times claim the building has now “devolved into chaos.” They’re dealing with mold, trash pile-ups, broken glass, violence, and mice and roaches that “scurry around corners.” One tenant said he stopped cooking in the communal kitchen when he witnessed roaches coming out of the oven (*gag*).

Simon Baron Development CEO Matt Baron has heard the complaints and he insists he wants the issues resolved too.

“We are absolutely committed to making the Cecil a safe and clean space for people to live… [and] making sure the people who live at the Cecil are provided the services that they need,” he told the Times.

For now, tenants must rely on their own case managers for help. L.A. County has funded case management services for around 2,100 individuals with vouchers. Fifty of them are staying at the Cecil, but the rest of the occupants are on their own.

Experts call it a recipe for failure. After years on the streets, it can be hard to adjust to apartment living. People often need guidance on basic living skills. 

The Cecil never did have very good luck. At least two murders occurred there long before the unhoused residents moved in. It was also the site of a tragic death that spawned a Netflix documentary. L.A. lore says it's haunted. 

There was once hope that the Cecil’s sordid history could be turned around; that the hotel’s new reputation would be one of triumph and redemption for the unhoused. There’s still time.