Downtown hotels concerned over growing complaints about homeless, panhandling

ATLANTA — Managers of downtown Atlanta hotels are becoming more concerned about the homeless situation. Now they are urging city leaders to step up and do more.

Channel 2's Dave Huddleston got a copy of a letter sent to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressing problems around three downtown hotels.

General managers at the Hyatt Regency, Hilton Atlanta and Marriott Marquis said they have received an increase in complaints.

The managers said their guests are regularly being intimidated especially near Hardy Ivy Park, Mayors Park and Courtland Street.

Some of the complaints in the letter included:

  • "We could not count the number of vagrants that approached us or insulted us. If we have to travel to Atlanta again, we would not stay at this hotel or in this area."
  • "We have had a number of concerns around physical safety in the surrounding area."
  • "Staying in downtown Atlanta with the homeless, panhandlers was not pleasant."

The managers said they are concerned tourists and conventions will not come to Atlanta if people don't feel safe, which could have a terrible impact on the local economy.

Huddleston spoke with guests who are staying in Atlanta this week. Jim Upshaw and his family are in town for a girls basketball conference and staying at the Hilton.


Upshaw said he has noticed Atlanta's homeless and has been approached by a homeless person.

"We realize it's a problem in any city," he said.

Huddleston also spoke with a local cab driver, who has noticed the increases since the Pine Street shelter closed in the last year.

"I've driven for 30 years and I've seen a lot of increase in it," Andrew Bless said. "I see them bothering people all the time, asking for money."

Huddleston received a statement from the mayor's office, saying:

"Addressing the needs of Atlanta's homeless and underhoused remains a top priority for the mayor. We continue to work with our partners, leverage resources-both public and private-to work toward lasting solutions."