California community organizations say the state isn’t doing enough to protect homeless residents from COVID-19.
Advocacy groups, including the Los Angeles and San Francisco chapters of the National Lawyers Guild, released a set of demands yesterday to protect California’s unhoused population from COVID-19. At the top of the list is housing every single homeless person in the state.
The coalition suggests using spaces like vacant apartments, hotel rooms, and college dorms to house the estimated tens of thousands of Californians who are homeless. They say it’s also vital to public health to end homeless encampment sweeps.
The groups are asking cities to provide supplies like tents, handwashing stations, and face masks to people living outside, until they’re able to be housed.
Currently, many of these supplies are being provided on an ad hoc basis by individual volunteers. Some local Bay Area governments have been providing handwashing stations, but many are broken or have gone missing. Advocates say the rollout has been too slow and uneven.
They also have some broader demands. Those include a ban on evictions due to unpaid rent during the coronavirus crisis.
Such a policy went into effect last month in Oakland. And San Francisco leaders proposed a similar one yesterday. Community groups want to see tenant protections provided statewide.