4-27-20 Update regarding Trailers at Cheviot Rec Center

The Westside Neighborhood Council just received this info from CD5

The operation at Cheviot Rec is under the direction of the Mayor and the City’s Emergency Management Department.  As most of you already know, the park’s recreation center building has been used as an emergency shelter for unhoused individuals for the past few weeks, and there are now trailers installed in the parking lot that are planned to be used for a similar population as is already in the rec center.

We have been informed that some of the trailers could start housing folks starting tomorrow, Tuesday. It is possible that this may change, but tomorrow is the current plan. One of the trailers will be used by Administrative staff. Extra security will be provided for the trailers separately from the rec center.

There are 100 trailers on the Cheviot lot although all 100 will not be utilized starting Tuesday. These are to be used to help get our unhoused neighbors off the street, to reduce the virus’ spread. The trailers are not for people being identified as having the virus. If anyone has symptoms, they will be sent to the hospital or somewhere that will provide isolation.

Efforts for housing assistance in the trailers will primarily be focused on those in a Tier 1 category. That means, 65+ years of age and those with underlying health conditions. More specifically, the focus is on the following groups:

•Over 65

•People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

•People who have serious heart conditions

•People who are immunocompromised (cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications)

•People with severe obesity (BMI over 40)

•People with diabetes

•People with chronic kidney disease

•People with liver disease

•Other health conditions that may significantly impact someone’s vulnerability to contracting COVID 19

Trailers will mostly be for individuals, and possibly some couples. It is possible that some may be used for very small families, but the focus is on individuals.

At the rec centers, anyone who enters must have their temperature checked, meaning all staff and all residents, and then, residents get their temperature checked twice daily. Everything is sanitized often. Residents are able to shower daily, and the showers are sanitized thoroughly after every use (Those in the trailers will have access to their own showers inside the trailers.) Residents are quiet and peaceful. Some of them have jobs they go to during the day. Many are elderly, some use wheelchairs and canes, and one is almost completely blind.

Additionally, these folks are not being bused in from all over the city. They are from the Westside area. We realize it may not seem like there are that many homeless folks out there in the area, but that is because they are generally dispersed over a large area. The city is focusing on folks who are already in the neighborhood, offering them shelter and access to showers and hygiene materials, to help curb the spread of the virus.

The residents are fed multiple times a day; meals are delivered through coordination with the Emergency Management Department.

There are shelters open all over the city already, and everything has gone very smoothly. There has only been one individual to test positive in all of the shelters, and that person was removed from the shelter and taken for treatment right away.

We understand that the size and number of the trailers, and them being so visible, adds to a bit of neighborhood apprehension. However, LAPD is on site 24/7, and there is ample city staff and nurses on duty as well. There will only be one point of entry and exit for the trailers, and residents will not be able to have visitors.

We do not have the exact date that the trailers will be disbanded, as it is very fluid and tied to the mayor’s emergency declaration and COVID-19 relief efforts. However, the mayor has been adamant that once we are out of the woods with the virus, he does not want to send these folks back out on the street and that he does not intend to leave them at the park. He wants to transition them into an alternate location where they can have interim or permanent supportive housing. His office is still developing strategies to accomplish that goal and we hope to learn more soon.

When we are not in a state of emergency, homeless folks are not allowed to camp at the park, and we do not believe that this will change moving forward.

We want area residents to be able to enjoy the park, and we empathize with neighbors who have posed valid concerns about these temporary changes at the park.

In regards to the park being open to the public, anyone is still free to walk and run in the open spaces and on the grass. We do not foresee any changes to park access, though we will be certain to alert the community ASAP should that change.

Please feel free to update your community contacts with these details. We will continue to provide updates to the community as inquiries come in, and as we are given more information.