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City Proposes Bathrooms, Storage, and More For Skid Row

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LA's Chief Administrative Officer recommended that the city spend $3.7 million toward improving the conditions on Skid Row, says the LA Times. If approved by city council, the proposal suggests the money go toward providing the homeless with 24-hour bathroom access, increasing storage for their personal belongings, and moving a long-term storage facility (currently east of Alameda) into Skid Row proper. This plan is being received by some homeless advocates as a well-intentioned but ultimately ineffective approach to quelling the long battle between the city and the homeless, mostly rearing its head in the form of the fight over booting the carts and assorted belongings that homeless people store on the street.

One of the lawyers representing the group of homeless people suing the city for what they claim was the unlawful trashing of their personal property critiqued the plan as "at best inadequate," saying that the storage facilities would quickly become full and that the storage would have to be open and accessible around the clock in order to be truly useful to Skid Row's nearly 3,500 homeless residents. (It was thought that the storage bins would only be open during business hours.)

Something's got to change, that's for sure, because the streets are an increasing heath hazard. In the past two years, the LA County Department of Health has given the city citations for the "immediate public health threat" posed by dangerously filthy conditions in the area, including (but probably not limited to) "feces, urine, rodent infestation, garbage and debris in the streets."
· $3.7-million cleanup plan proposed for skid row [LAT]