San Jose City Council Votes to Convert Plaza Hotel Into Homeless Housing - NBC Bay Area
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San Jose City Council Votes to Convert Plaza Hotel Into Homeless Housing

Tuesday's decision is the latest in an effort by the city to address its homeless problem.

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    San Jose took a big step Tuesday in addressing problems with the homeless population and prostitution. Robert Handa reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014)

    The San Jose City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to turn the Plaza Hotel in downtown into homeless housing.

    Tuesday's decision is the latest in an effort by the city to address its homeless problem. The hotel, located just off Fernando Street, has been vacant for years.

    City officials hope 49 homeless people will be able to call the Plaza Hotel home by December.

    The council's vote also included purchasing and renovating the hotel at a cost of $2.5 million. Mayor Sam Liccardo said it is money well spent.

    "It is far better for the community to have the homeless in housing than to have them out on the street or living in creeks, where it is more dangerous for them," Liccardo said.

    Neighbors are not exactly rolling out the red carpet for the homeless.

    Some business owners are worried the project could keep customers away.

    "It would affect our business for sure," said Rafael Oliviera of Taurinus.

    Ernie Guzman, manager at Bay Print Solution just a few feet away from the hotel, predicts problems with the project.

    "Don't just put them somewhere to keep them out of the way," Guzman said. "It will cause a problem if the homeless just come here to stay and more come to hang out."

    Guzman also said if the homeless can get help at the hotel and get back on their feet he will support the project.

    The city hopes to have homeless clients move into the hotel by the end of the year. Plans are also in the works to turn the Santa Clara Inn on the Alameda into another homeless hotel.

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