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Handwashing Stations Being Placed At Homeless Encampments

People walk in Skid Row on September 28, 2019 in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Gett Images
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More than 100 handwashing stations are being deployed around Los Angeles as a stopgap to boost sanitary conditions at homeless camps.

It's one of the responses authorities are scrambling to put in place to minimize the effect of COVID-19 on the region’s sizable homeless population.

"We’re all being told to keep washing our hands with soap and water. But people who don’t have a bathroom can’t do that," said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Los Angeles’ westside.

“I was frustrated Monday morning when I woke up and I saw that there were handwashing stations rolling out on the streets of San Francisco and San Diego and San Jose.”

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But not Los Angeles.

So Bonin used his office budget to start installing more than 40 handwash stations in his district. More council members have since followed.

Likewise, LA County officials have said they’re figuring out how to isolate any potentially sick people who don’t have their own space.

As for Aymen Ahmed, who’s homeless in Echo Park, the virus is low on his list of immediate concerns.

“I’m worried about the virus if you cramp me in a space with people’s sanitary conditions I don’t know about," he said. "I’m not worried about the virus when I’m outside."

For now, Ahmed is more concerned about the rain.

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