One of the beautiful things about Los Angeles is that the weather is pretty predictable and it usually rains fewer than 20 days a year. Yesterday was one of those days.
It is freezing, and dark, and everything and everyone who is outside is wet and also cold. this means that the humans who have nowhere to go our outside and freezing and cold.
Next month a thing called winter shelter will open. It will be open for a couple of months and if you call and are lucky enough to get someone to answer the phone you can make a reservation for a bed. You have to be at a pickup stop at a specific time and transportation will take you to the shelter. There’s case managers and food and then the next morning you have to leave again. Even if it’s raining. Winter shelter is not perfect but it is good.
We need some of that goodness right now. We need a place for our neighbors to come inside when it is freezing and wet. Not just because they will also be freezing and wet and miserable, but because they are going to get sick. And when sick people who don’t have a stable place to stay or health insurance need help oh, they go to the hospital and use their public emergency medical funds. This is health insurance that we all pay for. this is doctors and nurses and security guards and sometimes paramedics who are being funded by us to bring these people who have just gotten sick inside and give them treatment when we could have prevented the illness in the first place.
There are some logistics involved in opening shelters right now. You have to staff them and that requires organizing the schedules for the workers and finding the money to pay them. You have to make sure that the spaces that are being used for the shelter are available. You’ve got to find volunteers and food and all of that cost money. But all of that is going to cost a lot less than what her hospital bill is about to be, or so I’m guessing.
I spend a lot of time connecting homeless people in the housing. I track how often they return back to the hospitals and I will tell you that it’s amazing what some basic need meeting will do.
I have an anticipation that if we could look at what the public bill will be for the next week it’s going to skyrocket. These people are outside and what and getting sick.
occasionally I’ll see a commercial for the humane society and it talks about if you’re cold and your animals cold you need to bring them inside. Is it any Wonder that we feel compassion for cute and adorable animals but not for ourselves? I wonder about it. There’s a Houston taking blankets out to people if the blankets are going to get soaked. Let’s bring the people to the inside with warm blankets and toilets and water and soap and all the things that keep people healthy.
now I know you think I don’t bleeding heart liberal, and I’m guilty as charged. But I’m also pragmatic. If the person sleeping by the bus stop has the flu or a cold and it’s contagious and I go by them and they cough and I inhale… Now I’m going to get sick too, or my child well and I will miss work. It’s in the public’s best interest to keep everybody as healthy as possible.
It’s raining and it’s pouring and as thousand people are sleeping in puddles on the flooring.