LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell today introduced a motion to provide free COVID-19 testing on-site at all permanent and temporary homeless shelters.
The motion would direct the city's homeless coordinator to work with all relevant city departments and the County of Los Angeles to provide the testing.
“The city has already made sure vulnerable, at-risk residents such as those living in nursing homes receive free testing,” O'Farrell said. “We need to also ensure that our shelter residents have free testing on-site. Knowing your status is a critical first step in flattening the curve of the pandemic, and with this initiative no Angelenos will be left behind, making us all safer in the long run.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced last week that free COVID-19 testing is available to all Los Angeles residents, but people with symptoms and first responders are still prioritized.
For at-risk individuals, such as those experiencing homelessness, navigating the transportation system could be difficult and potentially dangerous by exposing themselves and others to the virus, O'Farrell said.
“Providing this convenient access to testing will go a long way to ensure that our clients are truly safer at home,” said Jazzmun Crayton, a coordinator for the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, which is contracted with the city for outreach services in Hollywood and manages a Bridge Home program for transgender individuals.
“This testing is especially important to the population we serve, and now we will be able to protect them as well as the essential workers within our organization,” Crayton said.
O'Farrell said transgender individuals experiencing homelessness could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus due to several factors, including fear or mistrust accessing primary care due to past negative experiences or immigration status.
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