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Hygiene facility launches on LA’s Skid Row

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 01: Homeless people mill around on a Skid Row sidewalk after packing up their tents for the day and before businesses open on May 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. The newly released 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count indicates a 20 percent jump in the city of Los Angeles while Los Angeles County has spiked 23 percent. Voters have approved a record number of funds for homeless services with the passage of Measure HHH in the city and Measure H countywide. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) David McNew/Getty Images

For years, Skid Row’s homeless have complained the lack of bathrooms and showers was creating an area ripe for infection.

Now, just months after Los Angeles county health officials announced a Hepatitis A outbreak, Skid Row is getting a hygiene station.

At a public event Monday, city officials unveiled what looks like a trailer with eight toilets, six showers and limited operating hours. The city is calling the facility the “Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot.”

“Most recently we saw Hepatitis A, and it gave more urgency to it. But this is something that the Skid Row community has asked for (for) a very, very long time,” Councilman José Huizar said.

There have been at least 34 outbreak-related cases of Hepatitis A in L.A. county in recent months.

Surrounded by city officials, longtime Skid Row activist General Dogon criticized their efforts to address problems on Skid Row. He tore up a certificate of appreciation that was given to him by the Mayor’s office.

“The toilets that you’re bringing? It’s ten years late and 300 too short,” Dogon said.  

The city plans to add more stalls and laundry facilities to the station next year, and officials say it will eventually be open 24 hours a day.