A not-for-profit organization in the Skid Row district of Los Angeles aims to provide accessible housing to unhoused people in Los Angeles. (The organization’s name is kept private, and the individuals associated with it discussed in this article have been changed as well.) At present, over 2,500 individuals are housed in different types of housing offered by this nonprofit agency:
- Short-term or emergency housing
- Transitional housing
- Permanent supportive housing
The homeless housing organization contacted Eco Bear for cleanup and remediation assistance at one of its buildings, located in the Skid Row district in downtown Los Angeles. Specifically, Eco Bear was called upon to restore an individual unit in the building to a livable condition.
Fast Facts and Stats About Homelessness in Los Angeles
Before looking closely at the work of Eco Bear in cleaning up the specific residential unit, we share five facts and stats about homelessness in Los Angeles:
- According to the 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, there were approximately 66,433 homeless individuals in Los Angeles County.
- The number of unsheltered homeless individuals in Los Angeles County increased by 12.7% from 2019 to 2020.
- In 2020, over 75% of Los Angeles County homeless individuals lived in unsheltered locations such as streets, parks, and vehicles.
- Most homeless individuals in Los Angeles County are male, with men comprising about 68% of the homeless population.
- Youth homelessness is a significant issue in Los Angeles, with an estimated 6,783 young people experiencing homelessness in 2020.
Overview of the Skid Row – Downtown Los Angeles Building
The building at which Eco Bear was called upon to remediate a unit in the deplorable condition is a former hotel that has been converted into individual apartments by the not-for-profit housing assistance organization. The building provides transitional housing for unhoused or homeless people and individuals who need emergency shelter. These units are delivered to qualifying women and men at no charge.
The nonprofit sums up its work for homeless people in Los Angeles:
For over 39 years, our organization has transformed lives in the “Skid Row” community of downtown Los Angeles. Along the way, tens of thousands of men and women received the keys to new homes. Many had been homeless for years, even for decades.
The individual units are relatively small, 10×10 feet and 12×12 feet. Each room has a sink. Residents on a particular floor share a common bathroom. There are no kitchen facilities in an individual unit.
State of Affairs in Unit Eco Bear Cleaned and Remediated
The unit Eco Bear was engaged to remediate to a livable condition was occupied by a man in his 60s named Vern. Vern is afflicted with a mental health condition that has not been specifically identified to the team associated with the residential services program.
Unlike many cases in which Eco Bear is called upon to provide professional services, Vern was not engaged in hoarding in his unit. Nonetheless, the state of affairs in Vern’s unit was highly hazardous and dangerous to his health and welfare, if not the well-being of neighboring tenants.
Management of the building came to Vern’s unit. When the door opened, they were hit with what fairly and accurately can be described as an extremely foul stench. The unit was exceptionally filthy. The unit was not in a livable condition.
Vern was relocated to a different unit to allow for deep cleaning and remediation of the premises. The objective was to restore the apartment unit in a clean, safe, and livable condition. The not-for-profit organization engaged Eco Bear to undertake this project.
Overview of Work of Eco Bear in Restoring Unit to Livable Condition
At the start of the job to remediate the state of affairs in the apartment once occupied by Vern, we were told by management that we could throw everything in the unit away. Our remediation teams often receive directions to throw away everything, such as the one at hand.
While we respect instructions from our clients, when it comes to situations as this, if we find important salvageable items like photos, credit cards, driver’s licenses, and so forth, we will set them aside to ensure that the owner of these items is not interested in maintaining them.
In surveying the situation in Vern’s apartment, we ultimately determined that the fee for services would be $4,000 for two of our professionals to spend two days to return the premises to a livable condition. This fee also included offsite trash disposal.
In the case of this particular apartment unit, we were faced with dealing with a dead cat, dead rats, and living and dead pests like cockroaches. Because of the nature of these biohazards, we remove the remains but also ensure that the premises thoroughly are disinfected. Again, as mentioned previously, when all is said and done, our commitment is to ensure that a unit like Vern’s is fully livable once again.