NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS—Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmembers José Huizar, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Curren Price today officially opened the Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot, a personal care center that will provide new access to showers and toilet facilities for Angelenos experiencing homelessness.
The ReFresh Spot, located at 557-559 Crocker Street, is a one-year pilot model designed and developed through a collaboration led by the City of Los Angeles and the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition — a convening of advocates and Angelenos with current and past experience living on the streets.
“We have to do everything possible to help people stay healthy and live with the dignity that each one of us deserves,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Homelessness is a crisis of housing and public health — and the ReFresh Spot shows that when the community and City work together, we can help the most vulnerable Angelenos meet their most basic human needs.”
During the month of December, “The Spot” will be open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon. Over the coming months, it will scale up to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week operation staffed by round-the-clock safety monitoring and advocates from the Skid Row community who can offer referrals to food, shelter, healthcare, and housing.
On behalf of the city-community partnership, Councilmember José Huizar introduced a motion in November to secure funding for the hygiene center from the City’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget and savings from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) 2016-2017 budget.
“Access to safe, clean toilets and a hot shower are a basic human right,” said Councilmember Huizar. “This will be more than a hygiene center. Our aim is to give the residents of Skid Row a sense of hope and dignity that better days are possible while we also take action to protect them from the spread of Hepatitis A. Today is not the end of our efforts. It is just the beginning, but it represents a critical first-step.”
As the City works to build the 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing funded by Proposition HHH, it is simultaneously pursuing alternative crisis housing strategies — from modified villages of tiny homes to modular, temporary communities — and expanding public amenities to minimize public health risks.
“This is a victory for those who continue to demand what basic human dignity deserves,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. "Today, we provide relief in the meantime, but we will continue to insist that people need housing and we’re not going to stop until Angelenos get what they deserve.”
“The Spot” will initially provide six showers and eight toilets. When additional resources arrive in January, the facility will scale up to offer six individual shower stalls with toilets and handwashing stations; seven toilets stalls with hand washing stations; and new laundry facilities.
“The ReFresh Spot is the latest in a myriad of efforts and initiatives implemented across Los Angeles to adequately assist our homeless population in a humane and dignified manner,” said Councilmember Price. “I am proud that in my District, we have executed a hugely popular mobile shower program at a local shelter, and are now looking to expand the safe parking program for homeless individuals and families. All of our efforts combined demonstrate our unwavering commitment to lift up one of our most vulnerable populations.”
Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, an innovative homeless service provider known for its harm-reduction approach and behavioral health services, will serve as the primary operator for “The Spot” — with support from Goodwill Industries, Social Model Recovery Systems, and We Team Security.
The ReFresh Spot is located on the future site of a permanent supportive housing site with over 100 units. The Weingart Center anticipates a groundbreaking in December 2018.
(This report provided by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s office.)