Coronavirus: LA County Opens Up Temporary Shelters To House Homeless

EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA) — The Yosemite Recreation Center is one of about a dozen parks in Los Angeles County that has been turned into a temporary homeless shelter in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — but in order to stay, people have to meet certain qualifications.

At parks across Los Angeles, playgrounds have been closed and gyms have been turned into shelters. Inside of the Eagle Rock location, there are nearly 40 beds all spaced at least six feet apart.

“I’ve been blesses to come here and they have been helping me out,” John Rey, a homeless man, said.

Rey has been staying at the facility since Sunday.

“There’s about five of us last night that I believe are homeless that are using the program, and just today, I seen two more checked in, two females,” he said.

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Only residents and shelter staff are allowed inside and, in order to stay at the facility, people must undergo a health evaluation by medical staff.

“They check for fever to see if you have a high fever or not,” somebody said.

The temperature check is protocol at all temporary shelters across the county to ensure they do not become hotbeds for COVID-19.

“There will be medical personnel on staff, security, food, temperature taking,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “These shelters are for people not experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.”

As of Monday afternoon, there are eight centers opened across the area with early numbers indicating about 1,600 people could be housed.

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The Department of Parks and Recreation said each center was fully staffed including buses that pick up people across the area, but officers said not everyone was looking for a shelter. They said many experiencing homelessness did not want to leave their tents or spaces that have become their home.

The goal is to open up 42 temporary shelters that will house nearly 6,000 homeless people.