by Daveda Gruber:
Hepatitis A, a deadly liver disease is spreading through Los Angeles County. The county declared an outbreak affecting homeless people and illicit drug users. The disease also is rising among gay and bisexual men.
In Los Angeles, where roughly 50,000 people live on the streets, this has incited deep alarm.
Volunteer organizations have faulted city officials for not providing enough accessible toilets as the homeless population increased by 23 percent this year.
The LA Central Providers Collaborative sounded the alarm about crowding and living conditions on Skid Row, bringing to attention the city’s own forecast about the increased risk for hepatitis A and other diseases.
Skid Row, Los Angeles fails to meet even the standards for a refugee camp. During overnight hours, there are only nine public toilets available for 1,777 unsheltered homeless people on Skid Row, and these toilets are largely inaccessible.
The United Nations refugee camp standards are one toilet for every 20 people.
To think that a city like Los Angles has come to this.
Seventeen miles away is The community of Venice is seventeen miles away. It’s a trendy beachside haven made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was young. He once lifted weights in a makeshift gym set up along a boardwalk. The homeless liked the area, too, and the population has grown to about 1,000.
The area has nine toilet stalls, none which are open at night.
Los Angeles County has 42,828 homeless living on the streets, which numbers reach more than 50,000 during the day when many leave overnight shelters. Most are within the city of Los Angeles, which has a total of only 2,800 toilets and 800 urinals located in parks that are open during daylight hours.