Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s unveiling of the first new public bathrooms on skid row in more than a decade was seen as a possible turning point for the homeless enclave, which remains mired in misery even as downtown development closes in around it.
But after more than three months of operation, the trailers with toilets and showers shut down in late March for a planned expansion and now are gone. Across town, bathroom access for Venice’s homeless people is hung up over approvals from other agencies.
The slow and faltering bathroom rollouts raise questions about whether logistical problems and red tape are contributing to Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that have started to flow for new programs.
“If we can’t get something as simple as mobile restrooms up and running, that doesn’t give me a lot of faith the city can produce the leadership needed to produce housing units,” said Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a skid row anti-poverty group.
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