Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..

Homeless People Were Largely Spared In Coronavirus’ First Wave. But They Need Help To Stay Alive

Kim Lockett, 61, who is homeless and lives on skid row, talks with Jenna Kennedy, a clinician from the People Concern. (Los Angeles Times)

By: The Times Editorial Board
September 9, 2020 —

One of the greatest fears about the pandemic was that COVID-19 would run rampant through the homeless population and kill hundreds of people. Already burdened with medical problems and physically beaten down by the hardships of living outside, the most vulnerable homeless people would seem to be no match for an invasive virus that has attacked young and old, killing some 186,000 in the U.S., more than 13,000 of those in California.

But here’s some surprising news: Homeless people appear to have survived this scourge — so far. According to the latest L.A. County data, there have been 1,589 cases and 41 deaths among an estimated 66,000 homeless individuals. Some public health researchers had predicted up to 10 times as many deaths.

Stuart Malcolm, a doctor with the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, speaks with a person living on the street about the coronavirus in San Francisco, California, on March 17, 2020.
 Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

To be clear, homeless people are still dying in alarming numbers — the county tallied 865 as of Aug. 28, a death toll almost 30% higher than in the same period last year. And it’s not simply because there are more homeless people.

County researchers need to examine those deaths to find out what role, if any, COVID-19 played. Heidi Behforouz, the medical director of the county’s Housing for Health program, is concerned that the deaths may be related to a pandemic-caused disruption in care and support systems that homeless people rely on. Or perhaps drug and alcohol usage got worse among homeless people stressed over the pandemic. These are all factors to be evaluated. 

Workers sanitized San Francisco streets where homeless people have been living during the coronavirus pandemic.Credit…Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

But something did go right here. The county moved vulnerable homeless people off the streets and into about 4,000 hotel and motel rooms. The city of Los Angeles took temporarily shuttered recreation centers and turned them into shelters providing about 1,000 beds at their peak. And the city stopped enforcing anti-camping regulations and allowed people to keep their tents up during the day, in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that people living in encampments remain in place if individual housing is not available. 


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(Besides, with 544 cases reported at 106 shelters as of late August, can you blame homeless people for wanting to stay in their tents?)

Hundreds of hand-washing stations and portable toilets — all desperately needed before the pandemic — were put up at encampments across the city. County outreach workers have done 20,000 health checks on encampments since June. The Department of Health Services alone has administered nearly 30,000 coronavirus tests to more than 21,000 homeless people across the county. (That doesn’t count the testing that homeless people have gotten in clinics, hospitals and other locations.)

All that effort was commendable and probably life-saving.  But 72% of the L.A. County homeless population live in tents, vehicles and sleeping bags. Only 28% spend the night in shelters. 

It’s exquisitely ironic that the cruel circumstances under which most homeless people live may have kept them somewhat safer. Being inside with people appears to put you more at risk of getting COVID than being outside with people. 

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Los Angeles has been providing unhoused people with motorhomes and RVs, which allow them to maintain social distance.
PHOTOGRAPH: APU GOMES/GETTY IMAGES

And no one gets more social distance than homeless people, who were routinely avoided on streets long before public health officials told everyone to stay six feet apart. It’s unlikely that homeless people got invited to dinner parties, weddings and other super-spreader events that left guests sick with COVID-19. 

Now, let’s keep homeless people from succumbing at a higher rate to a virus that is still a public health crisis.  The goal continues to be permanent housing. And it’s never been more urgent. But in the absence of that, the alternative should not be big group shelters — even with more space between beds. Nothing has changed in the CDC guidance.  Homeless people in encampments should be left in encampments unless they are provided with individual housing — whether that’s an apartment, a private room or a so-called tiny house.

Unfortunately, city officials and police officers have renewed efforts to displace encampments in spite of the public health risks. This includes the L.A. City Council’s decision to resume the deep cleanings that dislodge homeless people and their tents, and the Los Angeles Police Department’s decision to repeat the ticketing of homeless people who do not move off the sand at Venice Beach.

Nobody wants people living in tents anywhere, including on the beach. And officials insist that the efforts are done humanely — for example, by providing showers and water near the clean-ups. But we’re still in the midst of a deadly pandemic, and it’s not the time to send homeless people wandering in search of a new place to stay.   

This article courtesy of Yahoo News


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1 Comment on "Homeless People Were Largely Spared In Coronavirus’ First Wave. But They Need Help To Stay Alive"

  1. I am homeless more people died this year than last year 3 months ago

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