Following up on my last blog post here about the broken APTs (public toilets) in Skid Row last weekend, General Jeff– who is a Community Activist in the neighborhood, sent out a letter to those in charge of such things to get some answers. The below document is their exchange.
It is worth noting that the ONLY reason this has all come to light now, is that I just happened to walk over to 3 separate toilets on Friday and Saturday and noticed all were broken. Then, I went a step further and flagged down two separate maintenance workers in their vehicles with CBS/Decaux (the private French company our City has contracted with to upkeep these toilets) and asked the probing questions about why these toilets were not working. Something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the current situation as it relates to public toilet access for the population here now. I do not work for the City or the County-but it seems HIGH TIME someone who does start checking up on these toilets as a “backup” or insurance that they are functioning. As of now- there seems to be little to zero incentive for CBS/Decaux to report their findings of toilets not working in Skid Row.
This neighborhood is unique in that the people who live and get services here, are here in the first place because they are poor- they cannot easily pay for things to gain access to restaurants that may have toilets in them for paying customers only. Last count for people living on the streets was September last year @ around 1,200. If anyone is counting the people on the streets of Skid Row now- they are not releasing the numbers publicly- I asked Home For Good if they were counting and got no reply to this particular question. So, without anyone actually counting the people on the streets now, and with the number of tents looking about the same as last year to me at night- this is around 1,200 people who, when they do not have these few public toilets available- are going to be using the streets- especially at night and the very early morning. I *think* the Midnight Mission is the only local social service that offers 24/7 unfettered access to their restrooms, but Skid Row is 50 blocks and people camp on every block. I will be looking to see what the LA County Health Department says to this email exchange, considering their recent report for the area calls for even MORE toilets for Skid Row.