Supervisor Sheila Kuehl - Update 7/4/20 - Feeding Our Most Vulnerable + LA Regional COVID Fund + Summer Art Camp at LACMA

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July 04, 2020


Update 7/4/20 

This week, the County Department of Public Health reported growing and alarming trends of community spread of COVID-19. On Monday, the County reported a one-day count of 2,903 new cases, the largest one-day count since the pandemic began.

We must do better. We all know how to get these critically dangerous case numbers down and now, more than ever, we need to take these actions seriously: Washing hands frequently, wearing a mask or face-covering indoors and outdoors, and maintaining at least a six-foot physical distance from others.  Just do it!

Read: 'People in LA County flunked.' Sheila Kuehl on the return of COVID closures

And for those of you who attempt to excuse your lack of mask by shouting “I’m not old!” (True story)—Over forty percent of cases are now among individuals between the ages of 18 and 40. And, while cases in this age range typically have a lower risk for serious illness or death, they may also unknowingly infect parents, grandparents, friends, and family who have underlying health conditions and are at even greater risk. 

If this experience has taught us anything, it is that self-centered, science-averse behavior may be as deadly as the virus itself. The only way we are going to get through this is to cultivate a culture that values our collective good over selfish whims and puts an end to the fairy tales we tell ourselves. Our aversion to comparatively minor personal inconveniences needs to be set aside.  As one friend put it, “If you think a mask is uncomfortable, wait till you’re on a respirator.”  

We will be living with the major disruption of shutdowns and quarantines for much longer than we would like. Wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding large gatherings are small sacrifices that can make a huge difference, but only if we all do it. 

Whether you do it out of respect for the grieving families or the hope of a brighter, healthier future, please do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19. 
 
FEEDING OUR MOST VULNERABLE
On Thursday, my office partnered with the LA County Department of Parks & Recreation, LA County Library, New Horizons, and LA Regional Food Bank for a food distribution event in North Hills. We provided 1300 families with healthy produce from local farmers and shelf-stable items. 

As the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis reverberate through LA County, more and more families are struggling just to put food on the table. The County has mobilized a robust response to the challenge of widespread food insecurity, partnering with charitable organizations and local restaurants to help meet residents' nutritional needs.

For struggling seniors, LA County implemented the Great Plates Program, providing three home-delivered meals a day to qualifying older adults and adults over 60 who are high-risk as determined by the CDC, enabling them to minimize their trips out of the house. Several local restaurants helped with this endeavor, making the Great Plates Program doubly beneficial, supporting small businesses and feeding seniors in need. 

LA County has a one-stop-shop connecting people struggling with food insecurity to people who can help. For food insecurity resources, or to find out how you can get involved, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/food
 
LA REGIONAL COVID FUND
Small businesses and non-profits have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but LA county is here to revitalize our local economy and lift up underserved businesses. 

Although there are a number of federal COVID-19 relief programs, financial, technical, and cultural barriers have left many of our neighborhood businesses behind. The County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles, in partnership with institutional and corporate philanthropy, have come together to create the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and address those gaps in aid. The regional fund will offer loans and grants to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits. This recovery effort is three-fold, providing grants, loans, and coaching and technical assistance. 

To learn more, please visit LACOVIDfund.org
 
SUMMER ART CAMP AT LACMA
Calling all young artists! Looking to spark some creativity this summer? 

In an effort to follow State and County public health guidelines, the in-person Summer Art Camp at LACMA will pivot to an engaging online art-making experience. At these digital art camps, your children and teens can learn from inspiring museum educators and artists safely from the comfort of your own home. 

Along with formal painting, sculpting, and mixed media classes, you will also find unique programs like "Electric Art," a science and art mash-up where students will light up their work by learning the basics of building a conductive circuit using simple materials like copper tape and small batteries. Many classes are taught in Spanish and can double as a fun and engaging way to learn a new language! 

Spots are filling up quickly, so reserve yours today!  


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Update 6/27/20

As LA County grapples with the COVID-19 crisis and its subsequent economic fallout, government safety nets like CalFresh and WIC struggle to serve a growing segment of people who need nutritional aid. In response, the County has mobilized a countywide response, bringing together public agencies, nonprofits, and a network of volunteers to fight hunger in our most vulnerable communities. 

This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn to develop a sustainable and just food system in LA County. The motion calls upon the Chief Sustainability Officer (acting as director of the Food Security Branch), related county departments, and other food system stakeholders to develop a plan outlining policies and strategies to effectively address the issue of food security. 

There is a high degree of interdependence across the different sectors of LA County's food system, meaning that any efforts or actions aimed at eradicating food insecurity require extensive collaboration and coordination. Regular coordination among County departments, local nonprofits, food providers, and philanthropic institutions will help us better prepare for future disasters and economic shocks and ensure that anyone who needs food in the months to come will be able to access it. 

In a perfect example of that kind of coordination, my office teamed up with several local organizations on Tuesday for a drive-thru food distribution event at El Cariso Park in Sylmar, helping to feed families in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. A big thank you to our partners, El Nido Family Centers, North Valley Caring Services, First 5 LA, Cedars Sinai, See LA, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, who helped make this happen, and to all the members of my staff who volunteered! 

LA County has a one-stop-shop that can connect people struggling with food insecurity to people who can help. For food insecurity resources, or to find out how you can get involved, visit https://covid19.lacounty.gov/food/
 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Our country is finally recognizing the persistent systemic racism present in our criminal justice systems and renewing calls for reform. In LA County, we have been taking meaningful steps to transform our systems from a long-time dependence on incarceration to a Care First-Jails Last commitment. 

On Tuesday, Supervisor Hilda Solis and I introduced a motion to be considered on July 7th calling for a study on what steps would have to be taken in order to close the Men’s Central Jail in one year. The Men's Central Jail population has already been dramatically reduced in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, putting us in a much better position to find a way to divert the remaining population, particularly those with serious mental illness, whose needs are better met by treatment environments. 

In a related issue, our office has been studying research showing that in-person contact with loved ones tends to support the well-being of those in custody and also reduces the risk of recidivism.  We concluded that, on balance, it was time to relax restrictions imposed  because of the pandemic and restore this valuable and integral component of rehabilitation, of course, with stringent health protocols in place. On Tuesday, the Board passed my motion calling for a two-week report back from both the Sheriff and the Probation Department on how we can reinstate visitation, allowing those in custody to return to participation in programs provided by community nonprofits as well as to safely connect with members of their families.  

Finally, with a great deal of questioning arising on the roles played by law enforcement in our communities, discussion has increased concerning the negative outcomes that can result from having police respond to mental health emergencies. Police officers are not social workers, and when they are called to situations that require that type of training, they can actually make things worse for the person they are trying to help. The Board passed a motion to deploy alternative crisis response teams when armed law enforcement are not appropriate, re-routing non-violent emergency calls to groups like the County's Psychiatric Mobile Response Team or the LAHSA Emergency Outreach Team. You can read more here
 
HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, AND COVID-19
Housing affordability and the prevention of homelessness continue to be among the Board's highest priorities. The financial hardships created by the COVID-19 crisis have made that mission more urgent than ever. At this week's meeting, we passed three motions to help keep LA County residents in their homes, and LAHSA presented a comprehensive COVID-19 Recovery Plan related to homelessness and housing. 

LAHSA has helped to shelter over 6,000 people since the start of the pandemic, including 4,000 through Project Roomkey. This is a considerable achievement but a temporary solution. LAHSA is setting the ambitious goal of rehousing 15,000 people experiencing homelessness, focusing on individuals over 65 or those with existing health conditions. Once housed through the lease-up effort, participants will be assessed and supported in exiting to permanent housing. Higher acuity individuals will be placed in supportive housing that will meet their needs, and lower acuity individuals and families will follow a pathway to housing supported by subsidies to help them establish themselves in a new home. Read more about LAHSA's plan here

The Board also passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that expands the County's Rent Relief Program, prioritizing households most at risk of homelessness in high-need areas.   

In addition, there is a growing fear that LA County, and indeed, all areas across the country, will start to see a slew of evictions and foreclosures as eviction moratoria are lifted. Recognizing that we need to be proactive, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that asks the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, CEO, and County Counsel to collaborate on a preventative plan to address the expected increase in evictions, once the emergency declarations are lifted. 

Finally, I submitted a motion that was approved by the Board to extend the eviction moratorium across the entire county for another month. The COVID-19 crisis is ongoing, and the process of reopening has only just begun. We need to provide individuals and families a little more time to get back on their feet and protect tenants from eviction as they work to rebuild their financial security. 
 
METRO BOARD MEETING
At this week's Metro Board Meeting, the Board directed the CEO, Phil Washington, to initiate a comprehensive reimagining of the agency’s transit policing contracts and how we deliver public safety on our system.

During the meeting, a large number of riders expressed concerns about police conduct in the Metro system and how the current structure leaves many feeling vulnerable and unsafe. Metro will convene a new Transit Public Safety Committee that will include riders and advocacy organizations to guide our public safety efforts. Specifically we will be examining replacing our armed security guards with Metro ambassadors to provide customer support and security for our riders.

The Metro Board stands united against racial injustice and inequity. We can, and must, do better to provide true safety for all. 
 
COVID-19 CRISIS CONTINUES
Across the Country, states (including California) are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The truth is, this virus will be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future, and we need to adapt accordingly. Everyone must begin incorporating basic infection control protocol into their daily lives, because doing so saves lives, helps us to continue on the road to recovery, and prevents the need for more disruptive measures like the re-imposition of shutdowns. 

One of the most effective preventative measures you can take is wearing a mask. Last week, the Governor announced that all Californians are required to wear face coverings in common spaces and public areas, both indoors and outdoors when distancing is not possible. Just as you wouldn't drive a car without your seatbelt, you shouldn't be leaving your house without a mask. 

Businesses should be aware that it is their right to refuse to serve individuals who put their customers and employees at risk by deciding not to wear a mask, unless they are under the age of 2 or have a disability that prevents them from doing so. Fraudulent "mask exemption" cards are being circulated, but these are NOT valid and are NOT endorsed by the DOJ or any other governmental agency. You can learn more here

To eliminate any financial barriers people may face that would prevent them from wearing a face mask, the Board approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis to develop a plan for purchasing and distributing three million cloth face masks, prioritizing County residents most in need, or those who live or work in communities most impacted by COVID-19.

Read: LA County to Purchase, Give Away 3 Million Cloth Masks

Beyond its practical purposes, a mask sends a message of unity and compassion. It tells everyone from your neighbors to strangers that you are with them in this fight against an invisible and deadly enemy. Now is not the time for recklessness and selfishness, so wear your mask, save lives, and #SlowtheSpread. 
 
SIDEWALK SERVICE AT LA COUNTY LIBRARIES
Looking to get a jump on your summer reading? Select LA County Libraries are open for sidewalk services! 

Although libraries are closed to the public due to COVID-19, sidewalk service enables people to access all that these valuable institutions have to offer with minimal risk. You will have your items in 6 easy steps:
 
⏰ Call the Library once you have received notification that your hold is available to let them know when you will pick up your holds.
🚗 Park in a space designated for Sidewalk Service Holds pickup. Please bring a face covering with you; you must use one while picking up your holds.
📞 Call the Library at the number listed on the parking sign.
⚠️ Follow staff instructions. You’ll be asked to wait in a designated area, wearing a face covering, while your holds are brought to a table for you to pick up.
📚 Enjoy your items!
🔄 Return to a bookdrop by the due date. All items will be quarantined for 14 days. 

You can learn more, and find out if your local library is participating, here. Happy reading!

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Update 6/20/20 

As you all know, LA County is continuing to reopen more businesses and workplaces so that millions can begin to earn a living again. Don’t think, however, that the spread of COVID-19 is entirely under control. 

Last weekend alone, LA County announced 2,646 new COVID-19 cases (one for each red dot above), and this week, we passed the 3,000 mark in total COVID-19 deaths. It is a sobering reminder that even though businesses are reopening, the virus has not gone away.  Clearly, we all have to be vigilant and do our part to #SlowTheSpread. 

The Safer At Home order was necessary and successful in preventing our hospitals from being completely overwhelmed, but it was never meant as a sustainable strategy in the long-term. The new name of the game is risk mitigation. Just as you wouldn't drive a car without your seatbelt, you shouldn't be leaving your house without a mask. On Thursday, the Governor announced that all Californians are required to wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible.  Our County Public Health Department spelled it out even further. 

Simple actions make a huge difference, so as you go about your day, incorporate basic infection control protocols in every routine. The three basic rules you should follow at all times are:
  1. Wear a face-covering whenever you leave home and leave it on, inside or outside, when you pass or approach anyone else less than six feet away, even for moments. 
  2. Wash your hands throughout the day 
  3. Stay six feet away from people who don't live with you 
And please, if you do feel sick, self-isolate, and get tested. You are eligible for a free COVID-19 test (if you cannot get one through your provider) if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. You can also get tested if you are not experiencing symptoms, but only if you are 65 or older, have chronic underlying conditions, are an essential worker, or live in an institutional congregate living setting such as a nursing home or homeless shelter. 

Read: COVID-19 Testing FAQ's

Numerous states that reopened early are now seeing a spike in cases. The greater the number of people who adapt to these easy modifications, the better chance we have of continuing to move forward without having to live with the drastic restrictions we experienced in March and April.

The way we act now will affect the remainder of our year, so let's make the right choices each and every day. 
 
HISTORIC SCOTUS DECISIONS
In a time when the federal government is ruthlessly attacking LGBTQ rights and trying to turn the clock back on human rights, The Supreme Court of the United States affirmed on Tuesday that Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are protected characteristics within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision means that, unequivocally, LGBTQ people have the right to work, in all 50 states, without fear of losing their jobs due to discrimination.

This watershed moment cements what we in the LGBTQ community have always known. Loving who we love, being who we are, is not a fireable offense. We matter, and we deserve equal protection and recognition under the law. 

Read: Landmark civil rights law extends to LGBTQ employees, Supreme Court rules

Immigration rights advocates secured two major wins as well. SCOTUS refused to hear the Trump administration's challenge to California's laws protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation. It's simple, if the federal government wants to separate families, we don't have to help them do it.

Finally, SCOTUS blocked the Trump administration attempt to end DACA, holding the decision was arbitrary and capricious. It's a great victory for undocumented students, allowing Dreamers to remain in the country and pursue their education without a daily fear of deportation. 
 
FOOD DRIVES IN THE THIRD DISTRICT
Before the pandemic, 1 in 5 people in LA County struggled with food insecurity, and, given the current drastic unemployment, those numbers have only worsened. LA County has mobilized a countywide response, bringing together public agencies, nonprofits, and a network of volunteers to fight hunger in our communities. 

On Wednesday, my office hosted a drive-thru food giveaway with the LA County Library, Department of Parks & Recreation, and the LA Regional Food Bank at the Hollywood Bowl.  I am delighted to report that we gave out over 200,000 lbs of food to 2,936 families! 

This week, we are teaming up with El Nido Family Centers and First 5 LA to do it again in Sylmar! On Tuesday, June 23, we will be distributing nutritious food for those in need at El Cariso Park from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, and cars can begin lining up at 8:30 AM. There are no eligibility requirements, but face-coverings are required. 

No one should go hungry, and if it is up to us, no one will. For food insecurity resources, or to find out how you can get involved, visit https://covid19.lacounty.gov/food/
 
MEET P-82, P-83, AND P-84!
Earlier this month, the National Park Service released some grr-ific news! P-54, a three-year-old mountain lion living in the Santa Monica Mountains, gave birth to a litter of kittens – males P-82 and P-83, and female P-84.

Since 2002, National Park Service has been studying how mountain lions survive in an increasingly fragmented and urbanized landscape. Researchers have monitored more than 80 mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. GPS collars provide detailed information about the animals' ecology and behavior and help inform our policies regarding open space and habitat.

Researchers believe that P-54 and presumed father P-63 are both first-time parents, bringing genetic diversity to a population facing potential extinction due to inbreeding. The long-term health and survival of mountain lions depend on genetic diversity, which can only be achieved if mountain lions can move freely throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. 

The kittens, in addition to being especially cute, are all healthy! 
Learn more here!
 
CONGRATS TO THE CLASS OF 2020
Although I am sure the Class of 2020 was disappointed to miss out on the traditional aspects of this rite of passage, those who love them have stepped up in a big way to honor their achievement. 

In the past few weeks, I have seen drive-by displays of school spirit, socially distanced ceremonies, and quarantine-themed yard signs. It seems that although the big events were canceled, families are more than making up for it with creative displays of pride and celebration for their grads. The celebrations have gone virtual, but this is still their moment to shine. 

The Class of 2020 is graduating and beginning to find their place in uncertain, and perhaps a little daunting, times. I am confident in their ability to seize this extraordinary moment and shape a new, more equitable world. 

Congrats, Class of 2020! Per aspera ad astra! 

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Update 6/13/20

Yesterday, the County announced that, following state directives, they would issue guidelines to allow the safe re-opening of gyms, camps, museums, campgrounds, hotels, and more. Trying to strike the correct balance between safety precautions and the hopes of residents across LA County who are eager to engage in a little summer fun, we urge, yet again, everyone to do their part. 

Please, don’t ever leave the house without the most essential Summer 2020 accessory, your mask! All of these venues require appropriate face-coverings as part of the infection-control safeguards businesses must adhere to in order to remain open. The ability of LA County to continue on the road to recovery is completely contingent on the public's willingness to follow public health guidance, especially wearing a mask and keeping your distance. 

We saw COVID cases go up slightly this week and all the experts agree: wearing masks and practicing physical distancing are the best tools we have at this point to prevent the spread.  

Hey, I know the weather has gotten a little hotter, making our masks a little more uncomfortable. Too bad!  COVID-19 doesn’t take a summer vacation, so we can't ease up on the most effective preventative measures we have at our disposal. Here are some helpful tips on staying cool while wearing your mask! 

Wearing a mask is a message. It is a sign of respect, unselfishness, and consideration for your neighbors and any medically vulnerable person you may come across. It honors the tragedy of the nearly three thousand lives lost in LA County. It is a show of solidarity with your fellow Angelenos and reinforces the notion that we are all in this together. 

No one wants a summer surge in COVID-19 cases, so please, do your part and wear a mask! 
 
COVID-19: GET TESTED!
As more and more people venture out, here’s a friendly reminder that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and if you feel sick or believe you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you must self-isolate and most importantly, get yourself tested. 

Testing is critical to help us slow the spread of COVID-19 and get medical attention to those who need it. Testing is free for everyone, regardless of immigration status, and there is no insurance required. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or cough, we encourage you to get tested. 

You can also get tested if you are not experiencing symptoms, but only if you are 65 or older, have chronic underlying conditions, are an essential worker, or live in an institutional congregate living setting such as a nursing home or homeless shelter. 
Make your appointment here!
 
BOARD MEETING
This week, the Board passed two motions to continue our decarceration of both young people and adults in county detention facilities and jails.

The first motion, authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn, follows recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration workgroup regarding jails. The County has already reduced the jail population by releasing some inmates deemed not a threat to the community amidst COVID-19 concerns. This motion seeks to maintain these reduced jail populations, and provide alternative placements to support rehabilitation. 

The second motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, requires maintenance of the reduced numbers of youth detained in county halls and camps under sentence by the court.  In addition to producing a more effective and restorative youth justice system, the strategy of keeping populations low and reallocating resources to communities will help LA County save money in the long-term.

We are at a pivotal moment in history, and people want to see a fundamental shift away from a punitive system towards a rehabilitative one that prioritizes community-based services. These motions support that goal. 
That and more in this week's Board of Supes' Take 5!
 
FIRST 5 LA
This week’s meeting of First 5 LA was, in part, sobering, as we undertook a painful conversation about the events of the last month. However, in equal measure, I left feeling extremely encouraged, as the Board had an opportunity to discuss their role in healing our community. More specifically, we examined the path we can take with renewed intent to move toward reaching our North Star—preparing every child in Los Angeles for kindergarten.

We acknowledged that preparation for school is more than honing educational skills, although many of our programs target kindergarten readiness. Preparation encompasses nutrition, anti-poverty work and access to healthcare. First 5 LA is hard at work with our County partners addressing these aspects of preparation so we can support and uplift young children in LA County.
 
The Board also approved numerous strategic partnerships and contract renewals, which go to the heart of our Strategic Plan and bolster our ability to face the pandemic. The agreements fall into the categories of Communities Outcome, Families Outcome, Early Care & Education Outcome, and Policy & Strategy Support.

We concluded that, in some ways, these difficult circumstances offer the Board an opportunity to answer the call of our LA County families and fill in some gaps not previously noted.  
 
2020 HOMELESS COUNT RESULTS
In the time since the voters of LA County passed Measure H in 2016, we have doubled the number of people we have placed into housing each year.  We have built a smart, sustainable and increasingly effective system to help men and women who are experiencing homelessness get back into housing and to help those who may be at risk of homelessness stay in their homes. 
 
But we continue to struggle to reduce the total homeless population. For millions of people who live here, our housing market is simply unaffordable.  We need half a million affordable homes that simply don’t exist, and the COVID19 pandemic now threatens to make the conditions that force low-income men, women and families into homelessness even worse.
 Furthermore, we need to address the effects of structural racism on homelessness. It is unconscionable that 1 in 33 Black Angelenos will experience homelessness at some point in their lives. We must do better.
 
The 2020 Homeless Count results should be seen by all as an urgent call to action. LA is doing its part. We need state and federal partners to do theirs. 
 
I urge the governor and state legislators to act quickly and take urgently needed steps such as funding our Homeless COVID-19 Recovery Plan, funding affordable housing, and reforming state laws that hinder rent stabilization efforts. At the state and local level, we all need to be doing more to streamline the building process and ease zoning restrictions to produce more affordable housing.
 
Not so long ago in our history, the federal government embraced that responsibility to ensure that every American had a decent home. There’s no reason, in the wealthiest country in the history of the planet, that we can’t do it again. Come November, we need to elect an administration that is prepared to truly serve all the people of this nation. 
View the 2020 Homeless Count results here.
 
FIGHTING HUNGER IN THE 3RD DISTRICT
No one should ever go hungry, and the County is doing its best to make sure that no one will. Every day we are working with community organizations to provide free food in your neighborhood, with a healthy side of love.

On that note, I'm very excited to announce that on Wednesday, June 17, my office is partnering with the LA County Library, Department of Parks & Recreation, and the LA Regional Food Bank for a food distribution event at the Hollywood Bowl. We are also collaborating with El Nido Family Centers, First 5 LA, and other organizations for an event at El Cariso Park in Sylmar, on June 23. Each event begins at 9:00 AM, and cars can begin lining up no earlier than 8:30 AM. 

For both events, face-coverings are required to support safety for all attending and volunteering. Other than that, there are no eligibility requirements, no questions asked, we just want to make sure people are fed. 

 


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Update 5/16/20

BOARD MEETING
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, we have a responsibility to keep protecting tenants who may not be able to afford their rent and to bolster the systems in place for people experiencing homelessness. 

This week, the Board passed my motion to extend the County-wide Eviction Moratorium until June 30th, and to explore ways to provide additional renter protections for residents across LA County, including in those cities whose eviction moratoria don’t cover both residential and commercial tenants. 

Read: LA County extends eviction moratorium for another month as coronavirus response

Despite our best efforts, the COVID-19 crisis could seriously exacerbate homelessness in LA County. It has posed an expanded challenge for the homelessness services systems, which we have met by innovative measures, such as utilizing unused hotel rooms and currently-shuttered recreation areas. But as recovery begins, these temporary measures will no longer be available, which makes it critical that we be proactive and put a longer-term plan in place as soon as possible. 

My motion, co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, will proactively address this crisis’ potential effects on people experiencing homelessness. The motion calls on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to collaborate with County Departments and the City of LA on a Homeless COVID-19 Recovery Plan. 
That and more in this week's Board of Supes' Take 5!
 
REOPENING OUR BEACHES SAFELY
Watch: My new video on how to safely return to the beach and still have fun in the sun!

LA County beaches reopened on Wednesday for ocean activities and exercise, only. Several limitations were imposed in order to protect public health and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please keep in mind:

- Gathering, sitting and sunbathing are NOT allowed
- At least 6 feet physical distancing is required
- Face coverings are mandatory when out of the water & around others

We all want this journey to reopening to go smoothly and safely, and we want it to last. So, please, while enjoying the beach, adhere to social distancing and public health guidelines for the benefit of all residents. If we do this right, hopefully, we won't have to close down again! 
Click here to learn more about what's open!
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Update 5/9/20 
This weekend marks the limited start of a gradual relaxing of the Safer At Home order, and the first steps towards reopening business and recreation in LA County. 

The first phase of reopening includes some low-risk retailers (curbside pickup only), car dealerships, and some golf courses and trails. While I understand people are eager to get back to business as usual, our approach to reopening needs to be measured and staggered appropriately to avoid undoing the progress we have made so far. 

Learn all about LA County's Roadmap to Recovery. 

Click the following links for further guidelines on reopening trailsgolf coursescar dealerships, and retail establishments.

Although your efforts to stay home and practice physical distancing have, to date, prevented an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases at our health care facilities, we are not yet on the other side of this pandemic. Moving into the future, businesses and residents must continue to observe and practice social distancing requirements and take infection control precautions to prevent overwhelming our hospitals. 

All these steps are part of a slow and steady path to recovery that makes sense for LA County, and I am grateful for your continued patience and cooperation as we make our way back towards normalcy. 

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
On Wednesday, I hosted a Virtual Town Hall with the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, Joe Nicchitta. Our discussion focused on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and renters as well as County resources for small business.

If you missed the Virtual Town Hall, don't worry! You can still watch it here and get all the valuable information. 
View the Virtual Town Hall here!
CONGRATS TO THE CLASS OF 2020
COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of thousands of long-awaited and treasured occasions, including high school and college graduation ceremonies.

But the Class of 2020 is getting some pretty impressive virtual commencement speakers in (the deeply missed) Michelle and President Barack Obama, LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, and others! Called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, this milestone event will air May 16 at 8:00. 

Read: Attention, graduates: Barack and Michelle Obama have a message for you

To the Class of 2020, we are proud of you and your achievement and can't wait to see you make the world a better place. Onward and upward! 
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Update 5/2/20
CENSUS 2020
The U.S. Census is a national population count that takes place every ten years. More people counted means more money for your community - it's that simple!

The data collected during the Census will make sure that our local communities receive the funding they need for important services like schools, hospitals, and public transportation. And filling out your 2020 Census form is easy! You can do it online or by phone, and an array of languages are available. The survey will ask you simple questions like your name, age, sex, and date of birth, as well as details about the people who live with you. Under federal census law, your responses are kept confidential and can only be used to produce statistics.

Every single person counted makes a difference. Make sure to tell the federal government that your community counts, and fill out your census form at https://my2020census.gov/.
Fill out the Census Form today!
LA COUNTY HUNGER INITIATIVE 
LA County is committed to making sure that our most vulnerable residents don't go hungry by bringing together public agencies, nonprofits, and volunteers to provide nutritious meals to those who need them so long as the Safer At Home directive remains in effect.

On Thursday, my office joined the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation in partnership with the LA Regional Food Bank to host a drive-thru food distribution event at El Cariso Park in Sylmar. We served 1,932 households and didn't turn anyone away!

For more resources, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/food. Here, those who are food-insecure can find meal and voucher programs in their neighborhood, and community organizations can get information on how to connect their neighbors to the goods and services they need.

Learn more here!

_____________________________________________________________________
Update 4/18/20 

KEEP YOUR MASK ON
LA County, LA City, and the CDC all recommend cloth face-coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Bandanas, scarves, and homemade masks will work, but please leave the N95 and medical-grade masks for our frontline heroes. Children under two years old do not need to wear a mask, as it poses a suffocation risk to infants. 

Remember, a face mask alone does not mean you are completely protected. The magic formula is face-covering AND physical distancing, at least 6-feet. This will significantly reduce, though not eliminate, the chance of transmitting COVID-19, and it works best when everyone follows these guidelines. 

If you don't wear your face mask correctly, it won't work as intended. And if it is uncomfortable, you'll find yourself readjusting and touching your face, the very thing a face-covering should prevent. You can check out some tips on how to make sure your mask is effective and comfortable to wear below! 

The Correct (And Comfortable) Way to Wear a Mask
LOOKING OUT FOR LA COUNTY TENANTS
This week, the Board of Supervisors took a number of actions to strengthen and expand the Eviction Moratorium and created a Rent Freeze in Unincorporated LA to protect tenants who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other provisions, we amended our temporary eviction moratorium to include all renters in all cities countywide unless their cities have already adopted their own eviction protections, such as LA, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood (click here for a complete list). 

For a comprehensive breakdown of the County's rules on protecting tenants and to see additional resources, click here.
Board Actions to Protect Renters

Updated 4/4/20: 

TESTING AVAILABLE IN LA COUNTY
Drive-up mobile testing sites for COVID-19 are open across LA County and LA City. 

Through a City-County partnership, we are working on expanding this network and increasing testing capacity as quickly as possible to meet the community's needs - which are growing every day. 

You must book an appointment ahead of time online at http://coronavirus.lacity.org/Testing. Those without an appointment will not be able to be tested, and tests are limited to those who would be most at risk for severe complications from COVID-19, or those who have been exposed to a confirmed case. 

You can be tested if you are:

•65 and older and/or

•Have underlying health conditions, including:
--Diabetes
--Heart disease
--Hypertension
--Chronic lung disease
--Moderate to severe asthma
--People who are immunocompromised, including as a result of cancer treatment; and/or

•Have been subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because they have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have more than 7 days of the 2-week quarantine period remaining.

If you meet these criteria, please sign up, and get more info at http://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing  

Updated on 4/1/20: 


There is no question that dealing with this virus is definitely taking a toll on our collective mental health.

During these difficult times, the LA County Department of Mental Health is available for those who are struggling to cope, whether you have been previously diagnosed with mental illness or are just now experiencing symptoms. For help, please call 800-854-7771 or text “LA” to 741741.

Be kind to one another, and be there for one another. We will get through this, together.
 
Help is a click away



FINALLY... SOME GOOD NEWS.

Going stir crazy at home? Kids need to be entertained? So much of what we love about living in LA is having amazing places to visit, and now, you can experience it all right in your own home! 

🦒 Follow LA Zoo’s social media for fun facts, virtual tours, and stunning wildlife 

🌌 See the stars in your own backyard with the Griffith Observatory’s Weekly Sky Report 

🎭 Raise the curtain on your home stage with LA Opera’s Family Opera Time 

📚 Join LA County Library for Story Time live at 11 am and 3 pm on Facebook 

🎨 Watch short films, exhibition walkthroughs, and documentaries with LACMA@Home

🐠 Learn with the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Aquarium Online Academy


From 3/19/20: 
Dear friends and community partners,
 
On behalf of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and our staff at the West/Metro LA Office, we hope you (and your team/clients/constituents) are staying dry, warm, and healthy. I am attaching FAQs (including a link to below), “What You Need to Know” Infographic (including a link below), Cover Your Cough handout, and Handwashing Steps handout to this email.
 
If you go to the publichealth.lacounty.gov website, a pop up will appear where you can subscribe to updates, which I strongly recommend. Here are some helpful links as well:
 
Department of Public Health’s dedicated page to COVID-19 information: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/
There is information for:
  • specific populations like schools, colleges, families, event organizers, healthcare professions, businesses, faith based orientations, homeless shelters, and many others
  • what to do if you’ve been exposed, how to cope with stress, and cleaning tips
  • recent news and updates
 
FAQs for COVID-19: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ.pdf
What You Need to Know Infographic: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/CoronavirusInfographicEnglish.pdf
Today’s press release: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubhpdetail.cfm?prid=2262
 
Please know that our office is available to you and your community members via email or telephone. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
 
Contact:
Fernando Morales, District Director
(213) 974-3333