Motion Offers Skid Row Residents Public Toilets, Showers and Laundry Services
In response to the lack of public restrooms in Skid Row and the local outbreak of Hepatitis A, Councilmember José Huizar introduced a motion today to secure nearly $1.87 million in funding to establish a temporary personal hygiene center in Skid Row.
Despite City investments in public and non-profit facilities in Skid Row, there remains a shortage of public restrooms and other personal hygiene facilities. Councilmember Huizar’s motion establishes a temporary center that provides public toilets, showers and laundry services as wells as supportive and community engagement services to the residents of Skid Row.
The hygiene center is a collaboration between Councilmember Huizar and Mayor Garcetti, and will be located at 557-559 Crocker Street, a City-owned property scheduled for development as permanent supportive housing by the Weingart Center.
“Access to safe, clean toilets and a hot shower are a basic human right,” said Councilmember Huizar. “This will be more than a hygiene center. Our aim is to give the residents of Skid Row a sense of hope and dignity.”
Beginning in December, the center will be open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings with security. As staffing increases, the hygiene station will be open 24/7 with security around the clock. Funding for the center is from the City’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget and savings from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) 2016-2017 budget. The money enables the hygiene station to be operational until June 30, 2018.
Councilmember Huizar and Mayor Garcetti are expected to announce details of the Hygiene Center in December.
The project will be managed by Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles with assistance from Goodwill Industries, Social Model Recovery Systems, and We Team Security Services. Councilmember Huizar’s motion includes a Request for Proposal for continued operations beyond June.
In September, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared a local outbreak of the Hepatitis A virus based on at least 14 confirmed cases of the virus in the County. The State of California also recently declared a public health emergency related to the outbreak.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus spread when persons infected do not wash their hands properly after using the restroom. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, some of the best preventive measures include vaccination and access to personal hygiene facilities.
Challenges remain in Skid Row since without supervision, Automatic Public Toilets (APTs) are often damaged by individuals for illicit use. The Hygiene Center includes attendants and security.