This post explores the phenomenon of people sleeping in their cars outside of hotels, and the reasons they do so. For example, some individuals may be staying with family or friends, while others may live at a higher risk of experiencing homelessness. This blog post is meant to inform readers about this complex issue and how it relates to those who operate hotels. Sleeping in hotel parking lot is a complex and sensitive topic, which will ultimately require a multi-pronged solution involving social services, mental health resources, and increased understanding on the part of hotel operators.
Hotels are usually the site for numerous travel related activities for both leisure and business trips. But these same hotels have also been known to hold an unfortunate secret: those sleeping in their parking lots often show up at these locations after long periods without sleep. Not only do these individuals sleep in their cars, but they are often seen standing at the hotel’s front entrance, as if literally waiting for the next opportunity to get some rest.
Some have likened sleeping in hotel parking lots to a modern day reality and metaphor that is reminiscent of the Great Depression – an antithesis of the American Dream. While it would be fair to say that this particular situation is not at all an accurate or even close reflection of that era, it would not be unreasonable to argue that there are some striking similarities between this current economic crisis and what occurred during the 1930’s.
1. The Issue of Sleeping in Hotel Parking Lot
Before one can fully comprehend the issue of sleeping in hotel parking lot, it is important to acknowledge that this phenomenon is primarily a social issue. Although it seems as though many individuals are on a quest to achieve luxury by sleeping in their car, there are many underlying causes that have led these individuals to their current state. There have been reports of people living out of their cars or sleeping in them after they have run out of options. In one case, a woman was forced to sleep in her car at a hotel parking lot with her two children after running out of other options (Lee, 2012).
2. Life-threatening Conditions
In addition to the discomfort that many experience when sleeping in their cars, there are also serious life-threatening conditions that require immediate medical attention. There have been cases where individuals have fallen asleep in their cars in hotel parking lots after a long period without sleep. However, when they wake up, they are surprised to find themselves with serious health conditions such as dehydration, exhaustion and hypothermia (Lee, 2012).
These conditions often lead to individuals who suffer from mental illnesses feeling isolated and alone. Even though some may believe it is a luxury to live out of a car or hotel room as opposed to living next door with family members or friends, this is still not an ideal situation. While living out of a car may not seem like a big deal to some, certain individuals are simply forced to live out of their cars due to chronic mental illness and loneliness.
3. The Reasons for Sleeping in Hotel Parking Lots
There are several reasons why people sleep in hotel parking lots as opposed to other locations such as shelters or private residences. For example, some individuals may feel as though sleeping in a car is a way to achieve a luxury lifestyle or simply because they have run out of other options.
Some may feel more comfortable sleeping in their cars rather than sleeping on the streets due to heightened awareness regarding threats toward one’s safety while sleeping on the street. Others may also sleep in hotel parking lots after being evicted from their residence.
Ultimately, the issue of sleeping in hotel parking lot will require a comprehensive and multi-pronged solution. One area that has already seen much attention is the development of mental health resources aimed at providing adequate treatment for those dealing with mental illness. For example, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center offers an innovative program to help those suffering from serious mental illnesses (Kreizman, 2012).
The key to solving this problem ultimately comes down to providing adequate and compassionate care to individuals who suffer from chronic mental illness and loneliness. There should also be public awareness programs to inform people of the risks associated with sleeping in their cars. There is also a need to educate hotels regarding the potential negative impacts that they may have on their customers and local community. In addition to educating hotels, this issue will require the endorsement of local and state officials. Finally, there is also a need to increase services offered to individuals suffering from chronic mental illness.