L.A. County Public Officials Announce Efforts to Improve Sanitation, Conditions for Homeless People

Trash lies beside a mural that reads "Skid Row City Limit" during the annual homeless count in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2018.

Trash lies beside a mural that reads "Skid Row City Limit" during the annual homeless count in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2018. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday detailed their continuing efforts to improve sanitation and conditions for homeless people.

Data released last week showed the number of homeless people across Los Angeles County jumped by 12%, with the majority living within the city of Los Angeles.

The public health agency’s announcement comes at the heels of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti penning a letter to Angelenos defending the city’s action against homelessness.

Dozens of businesses around Los Angeles’ Skid Row were recently put on notice for storage and trash violations, and county health inspectors are expected to return to the 85 businesses to ensure that they are in compliance with regulations.

The agency is coordinating with the City of Los Angeles, and businesses that fail to fix the violations “may be subject to legal enforcement, including fines,” officials said in a news release Wednesday.

Inspectors surveyed 62 blocks in Skid Row and made note of places where Dumpsters were overflowing, trash was strewn in alleys and rodents were visible.

The information will be shared with city officials in order to address violations of trash dumping by businesses and in an effort to implement a rodent control plan.

Inspectors are expected to continue to respond to complaints at homeless encampments and will expand surveillance of known encampments throughout Los Angeles County, officials said.

The agency also highlighted their continuing effort to address and mitigate health and safety concerns for homeless people stemming from a lack of adequate facilities for personal hygiene and sanitation.

“The 2017 hepatitis A outbreak and the countywide increase in flea-borne typhus cases in recent years highlights the need for collective action to address sanitation issues, rodent and wildlife infestations, and illegal trash dumping,” the news release read.

Officials in Los Angeles will also work with other cities to address similar concerns related to homelessness.

The public health agency reminds businesses that they are responsible for maintaining sanitation around them and must dispose of all trash.

Officials also shared guidelines for cities where there are homeless encampments.

These include establishing public sanitation systems and establishing and maintaining the cleaning of human waste.

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