April 3, 2020
The current Public Health Emergency is a hardship for all of us and is particularly challenging for those without housing. Social distancing, eating healthy meals, maintaining cleanliness, and access to medical services are key to keeping all of us healthy, but for those without housing, this can be especially problematic. The following summarizes collaborative efforts undertaken by the City of Livermore, Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, and several non-profits to serve those who are so very vulnerable in our community.
Social distancing: The Livermore Homeless Refuge is currently closed while assessing social distancing requirements, which can be a challenge in the shelter environment. To address this loss, CityServe is evaluating those people most susceptible to infection and providing hotel vouchers. Local hotels are stepping up to accept the vouchers. The City plans to purchase individual cell phone solar charging stations to ease communication while observing social distancing. The safe parking program is still in effect with over a dozen participants.
Meals: Open Heart Kitchen is preparing pre-packaged meals in its facility in Pleasanton, which are then distributed at the Robert Livermore Community Center through a drive-up curbside process. LARPD and City staff are passing out the meals every weekday. Open Heart Kitchen is also delivering meals to the creek encampment (north of Walmart and Kohl’s) each weekday with additional food distributed on Saturday to cover the weekend. Monday through Friday, LVJUSD is providing pick-up breakfasts and lunches for those under 18 at four school sites and providing dinners at two school sites. Spectrum Meals on Wheels continues to serve home-bound seniors and others in need. CityServe delivers groceries weekly to our most vulnerable throughout the community.
Cleanliness: Two restrooms and two wash stations were placed at the creek encampment on March 13. They are cleaned and restocked daily by Block-by-Block (contracted through the City). The City is working with the County to secure funds to procure additional wash stations for other locations in Livermore. Due to the need for social distancing, the shower and laundry services at Asbury Methodist and Vineyard have currently been suspended. The City is hiring an industrial hygienist to determine necessary cleaning procedures and identify personal protective equipment for the onsite Asbury staff, so that services may be reopened.
Medical services: Tri-City Health Center is providing street medicine directly to the homeless population on Mondays. They, along with Axis Community Health, are conducting COVID-19 assessments and referrals. We are working with the County to acquire medical services for when the shower services resume at Asbury Methodist.
Finally, you may be wondering how you can help those most in need. One suggestion is to visit CityServe’s website (https://cityservetrivalley.org/news/), which includes a comprehensive list of service organizations and the current needs for each. Also, a visit to the City of Livermore website (www.cityoflivermore.net) will provide additional volunteer information.
This is an unusual time for all of us. It is hard enough for those with permanent housing and the resources to acquire services as they are needed. Imagine not having housing or additional resources and how that must feel? We all need to help each other through this difficult time. Livermore City staff, LARPD, LVJUSD, and several non-profits are stepping up to fill the gaps created by this pandemic.
Council Member Robert Carling
Council Member Trish Munro