LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Skid Row, ground zero of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, is lined with tents day-by-day.
Thousands of people there live on the street, unable to adhere to orders to shelter in place and wash their hands frequently during the coronavirus pandemic.
Homelessness advocates stop by to provide them with food, water, blankets and other necessities.
In this unprecedented time, they’re in need of a lot more, and organizations are stepping up to help.
The non-profit Beauty2theStreetz, which provides those kinds of items to the population along with hair color, make-up and mobile showers, is also handing out hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves.
Alcohol-based gels have been shown to kill coronaviruses, which people can contract when droplets from an infected person enters into another person’s eyes, nose or mouth. This can happen through coughing, sneezing or touching a contaminated surface and then touching the face.
Shirley Raines, who operates the organization, says she sees the needs that this community has and is willing and able to lend a helping hand.
“No human being is disposable,” Raines said.
She has been traveling the streets of Skid Row, distributing items through her car window, to provide them with protection against coronavirus while reminding them about the importance of physical distancing and proper hygiene.
“They just put in nine hand washing stations, I believe,” Raines said. “Half of them don’t have water in them.”
Raines’ non-profit has been feeding about 1,000 people on Skid Row for the past three years.
Lately, her focus has been on raising awareness for coronavirus. She says much of the population appears to have been left out of the loop about best practices.
“When we first went down there, they were covering their mouths but hugging each other and shaking hands like they normally did,” Raines said. “They didn’t understand some of the information about washing your hands and keeping that 6-10 feet distance from people.”
Emergency shelters have been opened across the city of Los Angeles to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.