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Morning Briefing: When Home Isn’t A Safe Place To Shelter

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Patricia Macias has found cockroaches in her hair. They’ve fallen on her 13-year-old son’s face and body. It happens inside their home in Arlington Heights, reports Aaron Mendelson, where they’re supposed to be sheltering to stay safe amid the pandemic.

They’ve filed a lawsuit, but according to Macias, her landlord has done nothing.

"I have so much anger,” she told Mendelson. “Because I feel like I have my son's life in my hands.”

Part of an ongoing series looking at the housing and homelessess crisis in Southern California, Mendelson’s story highlights the trauma and danger faced by Angelenos who, from a health standpoint, confront perhaps as many risks at home as they would outside during the pandemic. Roaches can cause respiratory problems, which Macias’ son, who has Down syndrome, has experienced. Some areas of their home have hazardous levels of lead.

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“After we started talking, it was quickly clear Patricia had an important story to tell,” says Mendelson. “But it was a tough conversation to have.”

Macias isn’t the only one whose home isn’t safe. Domestic and child abuse advocates worry that violence might increase, or go unreported, behind closed doors. To that end, L.A. officials have launched a campaign to provide information and resources to the public.

Meanwhile, Mendelson hopes to follow up with Macias, and others facing the same challenges.

“I was very struck by Patricia and Elijah’s situation,” he says. “It’s not just them, either. There are many other families sitting out this pandemic in unsafe housing.”

Jessica P. Ogilvie

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are at least 18,517 coronavirus cases and 848 deaths in L.A. County. There are nearly 41,000 cases and almost 1,600 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are at least 2.8 million cases and over 195,000 deaths. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision about when and how to return California to normal might be his toughest one yet. A day after creating a furor by suggesting people ingest disinfectants to treat COVID-19 (no, don't do this), President Trump said that the country is “getting through this challenge together as one American family.”

The Arts: Nearly two-thirds of artists say they have lost their livelihoods as a result of the crisis.One Pasadena artist has turned to the streets -- and chalk -- to create. Meanwhile, how do you teach improv comedy online?

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Immigration: Jessica Huerta, an immigrant rights advocate, has become the community’s go-to coronavirus question-answerer in L.A. Now that Trump's ban on most green cards has kicked in, that means that for the next 60 days, some families will have to wait even longer to see their loved ones.

Honoring The Past: The Armenian American community gathered yesterday to mark Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Most years, the occasion is marked by demonstrations outside. This year, many instead donated meals to the hungry and tuned in to live-streamed commemorations.

On The Road (And In The Water): A 36-hour closure of the I-5 Freeway in Glendale and Burbank starts this Saturday as part of a project to tear down and replace the Burbank Boulevard Bridge over the freeway. As of Thursday, 27 oil tankers were lined up in SoCal’s coastal waters, carrying crude oil nobody needs right now.

Protecting The Vulnerable: Newsom announced a new program for local restaurants to deliver meals to seniors during the coronavirus epidemic. A lawsuit has been filed against L.A. County and the sheriff, claiming they haven't done enough to protect jail inmates from COVID-19. All residents, workers and contractors at every skilled nursing facility in L.A. will undergo mandatory coronavirus testing every month.

When Home Can Hurt: For Angelenos living in substandard housing, staying home can pose other types of health risks. L.A.’s top prosecutors launched a campaign to identify cases of domestic abuse that may be going unreported. Find out where you can go to escape the heat and still keep that 6 feet of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Today, In Dependents: Two pet cats in New York have been confirmed to have COVID-19. Yesterday was Take Your Child To Work Day… yeah.


Your Moment Of Zen

May we all have as much zen as Liam Watkins, shown here balancing on a slack line at Griffith Park.

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(Chris Pizzello / AP Photo)

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