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L.A. County Encourages the Use of Next-Day Testing Appointments; Multiple Disparities Realized Due to COVID-19
By Betti Halsell Contributing Writer
Published June 24, 2020

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Chair Pro Tem, First District (Screen Shot)

The county board of supervisors and L.A. Public Health Department delivered news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Looking at the numbers, death rates are reducing, and hospitalization has been steady. However, amid the community, transmission and the spread of COVID-19 has been increasing. The county looks to deal with the spike in positive cases head on, the Los Angeles Emergency Operations center encouraged next-day COVID-19 testing appointments. They expanded the option within a multitude of locations to broaden the capacity of community accessibility. As of June 24, next-day appointments can be made at the Crenshaw Christian Center, Dodger Stadium, Lincoln Park, and West Valley Warner Center.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LASA) released the homeless count within Los Angeles in the previous month, the reports show staggering numbers. 66,000 people are experiencing homelessness, this is a 13% rise over last years count. Everyday over 200 people become homeless and Los Angeles does not have the capacity as it stands to shelter all of them.

To prevent a future surge in homelessness due to the viral pandemic affecting the workforce and economy, there has been an eviction moratorium in place to ban future evictions for all residential and commercial tenants. It has been extended as of June 23, the eviction restriction will be in place until the end of July. Further extensions are approved by monthly assessment. Supervisor Hilda Solis stated, “Nobody should have to decide between paying rent or putting food on the table.”

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Solis announced the board of supervisors approved the use of 30-million dollars in Federal Care’s act funding to extend the Renter’s Assistance Program. They are looking to prioritize unincorporated areas and small cities. The county looks to offer information on resources available, for those experiencing housing insecurity.

Lambreni Waddell, Chief of Staff, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (Screen Shot)

Los Angeles Chief of Staff of neighborhood legal services Lambreni Waddell spoke in more detail, about the assistance that is present for the current struggle in certain livelihoods. Wadell stressed the protocols behind the coverage of renter’s assistance and the eviction moratorium. She advised the reason why you are unable to pay should be in writing, keep a copy of that statement, and keep any documents that help confirm the situation. Lambreni emphasized that tenants cannot be evicted from their homes. The restriction on evictions will be lifted 90 days after the state relinquishes the emergency state order or after any adjustments made in the judiciary level. Waddell advised to have a legal professional look over any documentation that is asking for signatures.

Supervisor Solis also touched on criminal justice reform, “I want to first acknowledge the pain and suffering of families and communities are feeling. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tyrone Boone, and Andres Guardado, these are the names of only the most recent police killing. I say their names, their names of loved ones who have been taken away from their family in the most brutal way possible, at the hands of law enforcement.”

Solis shared her support behind the protestors who expressed their demands and sorrow behind the following incidents. She called out the aggressive force police officers are implementing against Angelenos peacefully organizing. Sitting at the center of this is the goal, to reimagine public safety. “We need to re-think how public safety is conducted and by whom.”

The First District Supervisor Solis read in two motions; one was to close Men Central Jail in order to further explore alternatives to incarceration work. The second motion was to address the need of transparency in deputy involved shootings and to ensure the timely release of evidence.

The Board of Supervisors are looking to vote on these two measures in the following board meeting on July 7. Currently all patrol deputies are looking to be outfitted with body cameras, however the sheriff has not made these policies public. Solis stated, “I am skeptical of this pilot program to implement body-worn cameras since five sites were identified and the east L.A. station was excluded.”

Brian Williams, Executive Director, LA County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission (Screen Shot)

Executive Director of Civilian Oversight Commission Bryan K. Williams explained the program was born several years ago, conceived by underserved communities seeing an inequality in residential protection. Each of the nine members of the commission was appointed by the board of supervisors. The goals of the C.O.C include the increase in transparency of the sheriff department, hold the police department accountable, and serve as a channel for community input within the department.

Executive Director Williams stated, “This commission, is in fact your commission. We want to hear what you have to say and we want to hear your complaints, we want to hear your praise, we want to hear your issues that you may have, and ultimately we want to make the sheriff’s department the best department, the shining light that it ought to be and that it can be, the shining light in our nation for what policing should look like in the community.”

Categories: COVID-19 | Local | News
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