Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Backward Policy for Hiring of City Workers

This is an alarming new City law.  While I subscribe to the notion that everyone deserves a second chance this new ordinance goes way too far.  


"It will target for hire as City workers: (1) the homeless; (2) formerly incarcerated, including those on parole or probation; (3) "former" gang members; and (4) troubled and "disconnected"/fostered youth. 

These individuals will be recruited to replace the 46% of current City employees eligible for retirement within two years." 

Veterans are fifth on the list!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MRSA Not the Only Public Health Risk for Homeless Campers, Teen Project Founder Says

Lauri Burns, the founder and president of The Teen Project in Venice, reports that antibiotic resistant bacteria are not the only health threat incubating in the homeless encampments along Venice Beach.

Image result for lauri burns teen project image
Lauri Burns and some of the young women her Teen Project has helped get off the street and off of drugs.
Alerted by the recent report by Lava-Mae of six – and possibly nine – apparent MRSA cases at 3rd and Rose, Ms. Burns called the VSA to tell of her own experience with insects carried by the population.

“I took a young homeless woman into my home for one night on an emergency basis and it resulted in an infection of sand mites that took over half a year to eradicate,” She said.

“Both I and my boyfriend received bites for months, which were very painful,” she said.

“We tented the house, we had exterminators back regularly, we washed the bedding every day,” she said, “but it still took a long time to eradicate the mites.”

“I don’t think the public understands that the unsanitary conditions in which these people are forced to live, and in very close proximity, are a very favorable breeding ground for disease and insects.”

“It’s a ticking time bomb and should drive more sanitation measures than we are currently seeing and quicker re-housing where the homeless can get away from these unsanitary conditions and get treated,” Burns said.  “The homeless people want a chance at life. They don't want to stay homeless.”

Burns, who was homeless herself as a young woman, notes that eradicating disease and infection is the first priority for her clients at FREEHAB, the free drug treatment facility for homeless young women that she opened in 2014 in Sun Valley.  Burns says the facility has hosted 442 women with a 90% success rate at getting them off drugs and keeping them off the street with both drug treatment and vocational training.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Possible MRSA Outbreak at 3rd and Rose

Venice Neighborhood Alert 

Venice Stakeholders Calls for Intervention by County Department of Health to Assess Risk and Implement “Best Practices” to Prevent MRSA Spread

A representative of Lava-Mae, the organization providing showers to homeless individuals at 3rd and Rose in Venice, reports that they have seen six of cases of apparent MRSA, an antibiotic resistant bacteria, in those who have been using Lava-Mae’s showers.

Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association said, “We understand that the County Department of Public Health has been contacted about the situation but not initiated any response to either assess the risk of spread or implement any action to treat the individuals.”

Jasmin Mouflard, Lava-Mae’s Los Angeles Director, said, “We saw six individuals who were taking drugs to treat MRSA and another three people who have the open sores that suggest they also are infected with the staphylococcus bacteria.” 

“While we are not health care professionals, we concluded that the six who have been prescribed with drugs to treat the bacteria have MRSA,” Mouflard said.

Rick Swinger, a nearby resident, said, “This certainly appears to be dangerous for the homeless population in the area.  I have also been told that it could represent a health risk for residents who can pick it up from their shoes or from their dogs by walking in the area.”

Ryavec said, “At the first notice of the presence of MRSA, the County Health Department should have instituted “best practices” that are routinely applied in hospitals and locker rooms to contain and eradicate the bacteria.”

Ms. Mouflard noted that they spray the disinfectant Oxivir 516 Concentrate over the shower walls and floor and the nearby ground after each shower use, but do not have the time or resources to treat the entire sidewalk along 3rd Street or Rose Avenue.  She said the chemical kills MRSA in five minutes.

MRSA, which stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a staph bacterium transmitted through contact with a person carrying it or by touching objects contaminated with it.  It can affect healthy people who live in crowded environments or who are frequently involved in group activities, including child care workers, inmates, and athletes.

MRSA is commonly found in the nose, and since carriers are contagious, they can release contaminated droplets into the air by sneezing and coughing. If the bacteria is colonized on the skin, frequent scratching increases a carrier’s risk of spreading MRSA.  MRSA can gradually infect vital organs.