By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness continues to lend a helping hand and pursue its mission amidst Safer at Home orders and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our mission is to protect the community from the destructive consequences of homelessness,” said Sharon Browning, co-chair of PPTFH. “And also to provide respectful, compassionate services for our homeless people.
“If we’re really out there working with the people that are homeless in our community, and we manage those issues and we get them into services, we reduce the amount of homelessness in the community, therefore the impact on the community, therefore we’re protecting the community.”
Most recent efforts include offering cell phones, masks and hygiene wipes to individuals experiencing homelessness. The cell phones allow the individuals to remain in touch with the outreach team while maintaining social distance.
The task force also has tents to offer to those who might be in need of one and asks that individuals shelter in their tent.
Sharon Kilbride, who plays a role in PPTFH’s outreach team, has been working to get proper hand-washing stations, shower facilities and portable toilets for the homeless population in place since restrooms along the coastline in Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors jurisdiction have been locked.
“When they closed the beaches down, they shut all the bathrooms first,” Kilbride said. “We work with about 40 individuals who are homeless that utilize those restrooms for staying clean, so that really worried me.”
Kilbride explained that PPTFH wishes to maintain a healthy and safe homeless population to stop the spread of any virus or health hazards to the wider community.
Kilbride has contacted LA city and county officials, and has found that there have been obstacles obtaining additional resources. Procurement is difficult at this time, as other municipalities and regions are requesting these same resources.
Additionally, some resources would require staffing and monitoring—of which there is reportedly a shortage.
Kilbride has asked that resources be placed near current Beaches and Harbors parking lots, specifically the lot in Santa Monica Canyon at Will Rogers State Beach, the Temescal Canyon Road beach parking lot and north of Sunset Boulevard along PCH.
Resources currently in place include portable toilets and hand-washing stations at Porto Marina Way and Surfer’s Beach.
As of April 2, Beaches and Harbors will consider Kilbride’s location suggestions for future sites in the next seven to 10 days, according to an email exchange. The Temescal Canyon shower site will not be opened at this time because it doesn’t have temperature adjustment and would require staffing.
“I feel we need to act quickly and work together to protect the community in the spread of disease,” Kilbride wrote in an email to LA city and county officials. “We need to keep this population who live along our coastline sanitary and clean during this crisis.”
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