GET HELP® Monitors the News

Below are the news and articles shared on our social media
March 2020

March 30, 2020

‘She hadn’t showered in nine days.’ L.A. makes it hard to be homeless, avoid coronavirus

Harry Sanchez knows how important it is to wash your hands these days, but he’s never certain when he’ll have access to soap and water.

Tinkering with a hand-held radio while his belongings sat in a bag leaning against a mountain bike in Lincoln Park last week, the 58-year-old maintenance man was as concerned as anyone about catching the novel coronavirus. Homeless since 2014, Sanchez says he usually tries to keep clean by visiting businesses with public restrooms or cobbling together enough change to buy hand wipes.

But with more and more businesses closing as the number of coronavirus cases in L.A. County balloons, Sanchez says his already short list of options to maintain basic hygiene has dwindled toward none.

“Everything is closed that people would normally use … and there’s a lot of chances to catch it when you’re dirty and outside,” he said.e, no, we need it now more than ever.”

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March 28, 2020

Find out how and where to get tested, food banks, emergency shelters, and more community resources amid the COVID-19 crisis.

We at GET HELP® are actively working with our municipal partners, homeless shelters, and service providers to load city sponsored emergency and crisis services into our app every day. Below are a few specialized searches that provide you specific COVID-19 Support right now.

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March 27, 2020

Rates of homelessness increase every year. But it is a solvable problem.

You would have good reasons to contest what the title of this article pronounces.



Rates of homelessness, especially chronic homelessness (defined federally as lasting more than one year), increase every year. Especially among people who have serious mental and substance use disorders. 

Nationally, over half a million people ‘sleep rough’ on urban streets and in encampments. “Skid Row”, in downtown LA, has the highest, persistent and most alarming collection of chronically homeless people in this country.

Are those data proof that homelessness is not a solvable problem? Only if you don’t know about the near to hundreds of US cities, counties and states that have had measurable, often impressive, reductions in those living (trying to survive is more accurate) on our streets.

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March 27, 2020

LA on lockdown another two months, probably longer.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warns of mass death, condemns ‘false hope,’ and tells us his city will be on lockdown for another 2 months — and to ‘be prepared for longer.’

Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

“I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

“I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

“Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

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March 26, 2020

For the homeless, staying at home is not an option.

While government officials and health experts are advising the public to “stay home” and “stay inside” as the novel coronavirus has spread, that is not an option for the nation’s vast homeless population.

“Social distance is a luxury that the homeless can’t afford,” said Shirley Raines, founder of Beauty 2 The Streetz, a nonprofit that provides services to homeless people on Skid Row in Los Angeles. “There are 60,000 homeless people in L.A. that have nowhere to go.”

As the government began issuing warnings about social distancing, Raines continued to serve the homeless in her community by providing them with hand sanitizer, Vitamin C and warm meals.

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March 25, 2020

Arnold Schwarzenegger Joins Celebs, Tech Giants With GoFundMe Campaign to Combat Supply Shortage

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is among the celebrities who have already donated to the Frontline Responders Fund to help health care professionals battling the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of business leaders, tech giants, and celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have teamed up to launch a GoFundMe campaign to help combat the medical supply shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Frontline Responders Fund—organized by Schwarzenegger, filmmaker Edward Norton, philanthropist Ron Conway, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen, and GoFundMe Chairman Rob Solomon—launched on Tuesday and is seeking $5 million in donations in order to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline medical responders in hospitals nationwide. By time of publication, roughly $2.7 million had already been raised. 

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March 23, 2020

The Coronavirus Shutdown Is a Disaster for Homeless People

As public spaces like libraries close, life has become unimaginably hard for those without housing.

With all the gyms in Los Angeles closed on Monday by city government decree, Angelo Mike, a 34-year-old filmmaker who’s currently living out of his car, had nowhere to shower. So he woke up early in the strip mall parking lot where he spent the night to give himself an improvised shower using a bottle of water, soap and a towel, thinking that it would be early enough in the morning to avoid the glares of any passersby. But what he didn’t plan for was that coronavirus panic had spawned crowds outside the shopping center that morning.

The places homeless people normally rely on are closed

People without homes still need to do the same things as everyone else. They have to go to the bathroom, change clothes, exercise and shower; many of them have to get ready to go to work. But all of these tasks become much more challenging when you don’t have a house.

Public gyms have always come in handy for many of these purposes. These are now closed. People need an indoor place to rest, or somewhere they can use the internet to communicate with family members and service providers or to work—Mike is a video editor—and so they go to public libraries. These are also now closed.

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March 23, 2020

What Do We Know About Resilience in the Wake of a Disaster

by Lloyd Sederer, MD, Chair, GET HELP Advisory Board

During this time of “social distancing” and “sheltering at home,” this means over-communicating. It is not the medium that counts, it’s the message of being close despite the circumstances.

While every disaster—and every community and governmental entity—is unique, there are clear, universal lessons, to guide us.

What works are: 

First, a set of organizational mandates. unfaltering urgency of response; clear accountability; continuous coordination among the myriad of agencies and organizations charged with responding to the disaster, responsible media coverage; and preparation for the next disaster.

That leaves the human responses, which are our focus here.

Protective factors include: a supportive family and friends – this has been shown to make for longer and healthier lives; over-communication, because isolation fosters loneliness, regular even frequent contact with others who care about us and whom we care about – phone, email, web-based video calls (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.); housing and food “stability,” permission – a social norm – that talking about distress  is beneficial; employment, or the prospect of it returning as the disaster abates; faith; and hope.

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March 20, 2020

L.A. releases locations for 13 temporary homeless shelters for coronavirus crisis

The city of Los Angeles on Thursday released the locations of 13 recreation centers that will become temporary shelters for homeless people as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow.

The shelters will open Friday, and the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks is preparing gymnasiums, finalizing 24-hour schedules for employees and ordering supplies.

Beds will be placed 6 1/2 feet apart, department spokeswoman Ashley Rodriguez said, but she couldn’t immediately say how many would be provided.

“The department will provide beds, offer personal hygiene kits and make showers accessible,” Rodriguez said. “Meals will be provided with the support from other government agencies and nonprofit organizations.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would convert 42 of its recreation centers into temporary shelters for homeless residents, providing 6,000 new beds. The 13 announced on Thursday are the first step.

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March 20, 2020

Homeless Californians join in a lawsuit to mandate Los Angeles provide shelter for thousands

An alliance of both housed and homeless people has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles to order thousands of beds be provided for the unsheltered.

The complaint filed Tuesday by the LA Alliance for Human Rights accuses the city of neglecting its responsibilities and investing resources in approaches that are too slow to address the homelessness problem in Los Angeles. The suit hopes to mandate that the city and county provide services for the homeless population including training, healthcare and shelter in a faster time frame.

“We really are looking to catalyze change on a systemic level,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, an attorney who filed the suit on behalf of the LA Alliance for Human Rights. “We are not looking to get rich. We are not looking for money. We really are looking for change.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office said it is reviewing the lawsuit and does not have a comment at this time.

Despite major investment in combating the crisis, the homeless population in Los Angeles County increased to almost 60,000 people in 2019, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said in a June report.

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March 19, 2020

LA to Add 6,000 Shelter Beds for Homeless Angelenos

Los Angeles will convert 42 of its recreation centers into temporary shelters for homeless residents, providing 6,000 new beds in an effort aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.

The city is looking in the initiative’s first phase to open 1,600 shelter beds at 13 recreation centers by Monday, with beds provided by the American Red Cross, Garcetti said.

The initiative comes as an array of city buildings — libraries, aquatic centers, cultural facilities and even City Hall — remain closed to the public, part of the city’s effort to reduce the number of new infections. It would more than double the number of shelter beds available in Los Angeles, said Alex Comisar, a Garcetti spokesman.

Garcetti said the move to repurpose dozens of recreation centers is needed because homeless residents are at greater risk during the pandemic.

“This isn’t about forcing people onto a bus,” the mayor said during a live Facebook briefing on the city’s response to the virus. “This is about letting people know if you stay out here, you are at great risk of potentially dying.”

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March 18, 2020

How You Can Help the Homeless During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As America battles against the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19), organizations are concerned about how the pandemic will affect homeless people in the country.

“Homeless service providers are facing a long list of needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, but it’s particularly challenging to know how to best help at this moment,” said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. She goes onto explain that there is a wide spectrum of what people who are homeless need ranging from cleaning products to medical support.

What is the current state of homelessness in the U.S?

Around half a million Americans are homeless on any given night, according to the State of Homelessness in America 2019 report. Of these people, approximately 35 percent—just under 200,000—do not have shelter and sleep on the streets, also known as rough sleeping, in places, which the government describes as not intended for human habitation. These places include sidewalks, parks, cars or abandoned buildings. People who do not rough sleep, which is thought to be over 350,000, live in sheltered buildings such as emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.

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March 18, 2020

An unexpected side effect of the coronavirus? A new urgency about helping homeless people.

As public health officials scramble to manage the spread of the novel coronavirus, strategies are starting to be implemented across California and the rest of the country to protect the homeless population.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that homeless people would be prioritized as a vulnerable population. Though he offered few details, he said there would be a massive attempt to move people off the streets and into indoor settings, including hotels and motels purchased in recent days and 450 state-owned trailers that will be deployed throughout California.

On Friday, President Trump issued a federal emergency declaration, which will ease the funneling of Medicaid dollars to states to help low-income individuals get tested and treated for COVID-19, open emergency clinics and develop quarantine sites for those who have no place to self-isolate.

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