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Illegal hostels are popping up in LA neighborhoods, to some residents' ire

Andrew Khouri and Anthony De Leon, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Home and Consumer News

In a mostly quiet neighborhood of older homes and small apartment buildings, some residents have drawn their own no-go zones around what might sound like a crash pad for traveling backpackers: hostels.

At least two of them have popped up on West View Street in Mid-City Heights in the past few years, with more in surrounding neighborhoods.

Residents say they’ve seen strangers smoke marijuana and drink alcohol outside the newly built buildings. They say the properties draw drug deals and a frequent police presence. A few months ago, a woman ranted in the street outside one of the properties for hours, at times alleging someone stole something from her.

Adriana Marcial said one night her husband caught two men having sex in front of the home they share with their two children. When he startled the men, she said they left and entered one of the hostels.

In a mostly quiet neighborhood of older homes and small apartment buildings, some residents have drawn their own no-go zones around what might sound like a crash pad for traveling backpackers: hostels.

At least two of them have popped up on West View Street in Mid-City Heights in the past few years, with more in surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Residents say they’ve seen strangers smoke marijuana and drink alcohol outside the newly built buildings. They say the properties draw drug deals and a frequent police presence. A few months ago, a woman ranted in the street outside one of the properties for hours, at times alleging someone stole something from her.

Adriana Marcial said one night her husband caught two men having sex in front of the home they share with their two children. When he startled the men, she said they left and entered one of the hostels.

“About a year ago, we stopped walking through there,” said Marcial, 38. “You get that vibe of feeling unsafe.”

Long associated with backpackers and young travelers, hostels typically offer cheap dorm-style beds and a shared kitchen. They can be a social place to meet people from around the world and, at times, the start of an alcohol- or drug-fueled night.

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