The following is an excerpt from the March-April 2020 Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness Newsletter. To read this newsletter in full, please click here.
Pictured: Stanley, PPTFH client, happy that Will Rogers State Beach restrooms reopened on April 11
On March 11, 2020, Carol Newark, a prevention advocate from Venice Family Clinic’s Common Ground, gave a presentation about many issues, ranging from needle safety to Coronavirus. In attendance were PPTFH volunteers, LAPD beach patrol, Lifeguard Captain Eric Howell, and our outreach team.
Carol demonstrated proper technique for handling and disposing of discarded needles used to inject heroin and methamphetamine. Our team has recently uncovered several abandoned campsites in our hillsides and beaches. We found discarded needles which have the potential to transmit serious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Not only did Common Ground supply plastic sharps containers to our volunteers, but they have committed to assist us in managing homeless individuals suffering from drug addiction.
On March 28, County Beaches and Harbors closed all beaches, restrooms, and shower facilities along our coastline. On March 30, our volunteers noted human feces in pedestrian tunnels in Santa Monica Canyon. PPTFH then became involved in the effort to open restrooms for our homeless population to prevent the spread of disease during the COVID-19 crisis. City and county officials were contacted, and asked if restrooms could be reopened in the beach parking lots in the SM Canyon, Temescal, and Castellammare areas. County Beaches and Harbors set up portable toilets and hand washing stations at the Castellammare location on April 1. PPTFH contacted Fernando Morales, District Director West/Metro LA from Supervisor Kuehl’s office, for help in opening restrooms in the southern jurisdiction for our homeless population. Continued conversations and emails to Beaches and Harbors officials led to the successful reopening of restrooms on Saturday, April 11 from 10:30am-9pm daily in the parking lots of all requested locations. PPTFH is now directing our homeless folks to these sites to ensure a clean and safe homeless population and community. We are very thankful to the Beaches and Harbors staff for facilitating this during this difficult time.
Chair, Law Enforcement Coordination Committee