The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Lacking Restrooms for Homeless

Jan 9, 2023

After 30 years, for more than 4,400 homeless living on Skid Row roads, finding a public restroom still remains a daily struggle. Skid Row is a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles. About 31 public restrooms are available at all hours in this neighborhood, which is short of the United Nations standard for a refugee camp.

The City of Los Angeles will end the COVID eviction protections on January 31, 2023, causing an estimated 30,000 people to lose their homes and start living on the streets, further increasing the public restroom shortage.

Because of this shortage, the homeless often have no option but to relieve themselves outdoors, worsening hygiene and sanitation conditions in Skid Row. As a result, the residents and the homeless are at risk of contracting diseases such as staph, meningitis, tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and typhus, according to the Los Angeles county health department.

Although this has been a well-known health problem for decades, the City of Los Angeles politicians and administrators look the other way. They argue that, according to 2019 estimates, spending more than $340,000 annually to staff and operate a portable restroom prevents installing sufficient public toilets.

But the County of Los Angeles is ready to spend more than a third of its vast 2022–23 budget, $44.6 billion, to police its residents and allocate more than 40% of its staff for policing. So, spending on public restrooms, even at the inflated public restroom price tag, should not be an issue.