Manuel inside his provisional home

Los Angeles declared a state of emergency to promptly attend to the homeless

Some homeless have the option of going to a shelter, but choose not to; more rain is expected from Friday

On Tuesday morning, the newscasts began their programming warning of the strong storm that began Monday throughout southern California and the multiple damage it has left behind.
These include downed trees, flooding, the deaths of about 17 people across the state and a sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles in Chatsworth. In Ventura, authorities reported that about 20 homeless people were rescued after the storm swept away their camp.

That same Tuesday in the heavy rain in the Harbor City area, south of Los Angeles, Manuel, 68, was sheltering in his small makeshift home made of tarpaulins and pipes. He wasn’t the only one.
In the alley near the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Lomita Boulevard, several tarp-covered tents and homes of people who refuse to go to a shelter, preferring to spend the season in the rain, were visible.

The 68-year-old Mexican immigrant was talking inside his small home with a friend, while they cooked some nopales with onions and heated up tortillas on a small portable grill.

Manuel seemed not to have any concern about the storm and in a very relaxed tone he said “here we wait for the rain to pass”.
He said that he has been living in that alley for two years. Inside his makeshift home, he has a small truck that barely fits a single-size mattress and is where he stays at night to protect himself from the rain and cold.

Manuel, who did not provide his last name, came to the United States 15 years ago and is no stranger to homelessness. He explained that before he lived in the alley of Harbor City he was on the streets of Industry City. He said that his jobs are not stable, a situation that prevents him from being able to pay the price of renting an apartment.

The immigrant has worked as a day laborer and is currently employed part-time in a company doing cleaning.
He explained that people are constantly coming to offer help to those who are in the alley. Whether they provide them with food, financial aid or shelter, but each one chooses what is best for them. Manuel believes that the house they offer him is not a good opportunity.

“At such hours it is lunch and one has to be there. They give you a special day to wash and they only let you in two or three changes of clothes, I change about three times a day,” said Manuel. “No noise, nothing at all. About six have left here and four are already back. It’s like a prison to be there.”

Meanwhile, in his little makeshift house, he feels comfortable. In front of his table, on a wire mesh he hung a picture of an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who does not abandon him, he stressed.

“I always walk it, it is necessary to change the flowers.”

He assured that he has children who live in Mexico and they encourage him to return but he has other plans.

“We are waiting for the immigration reform that they say is going to take place,” he says hopefully.

Meanwhile, the rain continued to lurk outside, but inside his tent Manuel felt in a very homely environment with hot food, warmly wrapped up in his very clean white shoes. Next to him was a speaker that he uses to listen to music.

“I turn it up all the volume and I like to be screaming and screaming with the music,” he says with a smile.

Open shelters

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County unanimously approved a state of emergency yesterday to more quickly utilize and provide services to the thousands of homeless people living in the area.

Authorities announced that shelters for the homeless are now open. The Winter Shelter Program opens every year from November to March to protect people living on the streets during the coldest months in Los Angeles.

This is a weather-activated emergency response, the goal is to provide homeless people with a safe, supportive, short-term shelter during inclement weather, says the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
The program prevents the homeless from conditions such as hypothermia, pneumonia and other conditions caused by cold temperatures. Winter shelters are located throughout Los Angeles County and operate 24 hours a day.
The shelters allow pets and emotional support animals. They also serve three meals a day and depending on the case, transportation can be offered to get to the hostel.

Analiz Marmolejo, a spokesperson for Mayor Karen Bass’ office, said the city is working in conjunction with LAHSA to inform the homeless and offer them temporary shelter.

Once they are in the shelter, work continues to see who might be able to migrate to another program that leads to more permanent housing.

Los Angeles County 1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis said it is imperative to provide shelter for people living on the streets during these cold months.

“Shelters are a matter of life and death. For that reason, the county has hotel vouchers available for homeless people who need shelter from this extreme weather. He encouraged everyone who needs shelter to call 2-1-1,” stressed the supervisor.

Vouchers for hotels and/or motels are only valid during cases of extreme cold or rain, while shelters are available until March 31, 2023.

Those interested must be over 18 years of age and should only dial 211 to find the shelter closest to their location. It is recommended that you call before arriving at a shelter as the number of beds is limited.

The rains continue

According to the authorities, despite the fact that there will be a small two-day truce, another round of rain is expected to arrive on Friday.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards are most likely contaminating ocean waters with discharge from storm drains, streams, and rivers. after a rain.

People who enter the water in these areas could become sick, said Dr. Muntu Davis, DPH health officer.
The alert notice on the beaches will continue until at least Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 7:30 in the morning, but it could be extended depending on the rain that is to come.

Additionally, Muntu issued a Cold Weather Alert due to the forecast of low temperatures from the National Meteorological Service.
Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in areas like Lancaster and Mount Wilson.

“Children, the elderly and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather,” Muntu said, calling for proper precautions to be taken.

“There are places where people can go to stay warm, like shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, grills or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Muntu asked that people who do not have a heater in their homes wear several layers of clothing, protect their hands and head, but if they have pets, bring them into the home.
For information on emergency preparedness and other referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week call 211 or visit www.211la.org

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.