Homelessness is a persistent, prevalent problem in California, including in Southern California. Indeed, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have some of the most significant homelessness issues of any location in the United States. The reality is that neighborhoods across Southern California are faced with the presence of homeless people. In some cases, homeless people can be found congregating in encampments. In other situations, homeless individuals are living essentially on their own or in individual family groups.

Due to the extent of homelessness in Southern California, a dangerous health problem exists. Because of the limitations of living in an unsheltered environment, homeless individuals at times must relieve themselves without the benefit of restroom facilities. Homelessness can result in feces and urine contaminating public spaces, including locations near residential and commercial buildings. The presence of human feces near residential and commercial structures, and the people who occupy these properties, present a health risk. There are strategies that need to be consistently employed to protect your family, your neighbors and others from the health risks presented by human fecal matter and urine deposited in inappropriate places.

Dangers of Human Feces

Human feces can contain an array of different types of what are known as pathogens. Pathogens are biological organisms that are capable of causing disease, including serious and even fatal illness, in human beings. The most commonplace pathogens found in human feces are:

  • E. coli
  • Norovirus
  • Dysentery
  • Giardia
  • C. diff
  • Cholera
  • Salmonella
  • Hookworm
  • Ringworm
  • Tapeworm

Because of the inherent dangers of human feces, safety is a prime consideration when it comes to potential exposure to this type of waste, including during the cleanup and sanitization process. Moreover, the potential presence of dangerous pathogens necessitates that the cleanup and disinfection process itself be thorough and comprehensive.

Public Debate Over Provision of Portable Toilets

In Los Angeles, across California, and throughout the United States, there has been an ongoing debate about providing portable toilets (port-a-johns) for use by homeless people. The proposal is to strategically place portable toilets at locations that include at or near homeless encampments.

As an aside, in this day and age and as mentioned earlier, homeless encampments are becoming a widespread issue in Southern California (and elsewhere in the state). Homeless encampments are no longer a situation found in the Central Los Angeles corridor. Rather, they can be found in neighborhoods throughout the Greater Los Angeles area and in other cities in Southern California. The locations of homeless encampments include some of the proverbial “higher-end, high-dollar” neighborhoods in LA and elsewhere.

A primary argument in favor of placing portable toilets near encampments and other locations frequented by homeless individuals and families is because making them available should lessen the amount of human feces and urine that ends up on the ground in these areas. The arguments further are that these facilities will protect everyone – homeless people and others alike – from potential exposure to dangerous pathogens contained in feces and urine.

There is an argument that has gained traction on the other side of the issue of placing portable toilets for use by the homeless population. This contention is that the placement of portable toilets will make things like homeless encampments more permanent. Facilities such as portable toilets will dissuade homeless people from seeking out more suitable, permanent housing options.

In addition, the counter-argument to toilet placement is that a segment of the population will not use them in the first instance. They will continue to defecate and urinate “in the open.”

Safe Urine and Feces Cleanup

The need for safe urine and feces cleanup cannot be overstated. People with homes in urban and now even some suburban areas are finding themselves contending with the presence of human feces and urine near their residences, around businesses, and elsewhere in their communities. As made clear previously, exposed human feces presents a very real health risk to people living in these areas.

As the problem of exposed feces becomes more significant as the result of homelessness, the need exists for a reliable way to remove feces and sanitize areas of contamination. The frank reality is that local governments have proven themselves unable to keep up with the problem of human feces contaminating out of door areas. As a consequence, many neighborhoods, including a growing number of homeowner’s associations and similar groups, are seeking out the professional assistance of biohazard remediation companies that provide feces removal and sanitization services.

A reputable biohazard remediation company that provides this type of service typically can be at the scene and perform an effective, thorough removal and sanitization promptly. This represents the surest way to protect the health and wellbeing of people impacted by exposed feces and urine. This includes not only home and business owners impacted by this type of situation but also members of the unsheltered community as well.