MESA, Arizona — A petition to stop the City of Mesa from purchasing the Grand Hotel and turning it into a human services facility is circulating in the neighborhood near Main Street and Power Road.
Morgan Lichaczewski said he's collected pages of signatures from his neighbors and businesses near the hotel.
“What I can tell you is that I have an overwhelming amount of people who think this is a terrible idea," Lichaczewski said. “I think if we have enough people and a big enough voice, we can get our point across, too, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”
The City of Mesa proposed to relocate Off the Streets, a temporary housing program, to the 70-room hotel.
The program has served more than 1,700 people as of May 2023, according to the City of Mesa.
“The amount of families that are entering homelessness is exponentially grown in the last year," Det. Aaron Raine said during a virtual community meeting on Tuesday.
The program serves seniors, families and victims of domestic violence experiencing homelessness.
Participants would only be accepted into the program based on referrals from first responders.
“We were able to meet people where they were, make them feel human again, and then transition them to the next steps," said Raine, a police liaison to the city manager for homelessness.
Lichaczewski told 12News he's sympathetic with those experiencing homelessness, but he doesn't think the facility would be a safe addition to his neighborhood.
“I have five children from teenagers all the way down to one in diapers, and their bus stop is right there in front of the hotel," Lichaczewski said.
Mesa police Cmdr. Thomas Intrieri said an officer would be staffed on-site 24/7 and they'd increase patrol throughout the surrounding area.
“I made a commitment at those community meetings that our recourses collectively will pay very close attention to that area, will continue to be visible, we will continue to be both proactive and engaging," Intrieri said.
The facility would operate as a closed campus, prohibiting participants from wandering off or having visitors.
The city has held three community meetings about the proposal.
Lichaczewski said he's planning to turn in the petition before the council votes in October.
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