Located in the northwest corner of Greater Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks was founded almost 60 years ago and has been a growing, vibrant community ever since. Thousand Oaks is home to a number of top-notch shopping centers, including one we will call CenterPointe for the purposes of this article. (We protect the privacy of our clients, even when they give a greenlight to share their stories as a way of being helpful to others.)
As is the case throughout Greater Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks struggles with issues associated with homelessness. Five fast facts illustrate the situation regarding homelessness in this community of approximately 127,000 residents:
- As of the 2020 Point-in-Time Count, there were 230 individuals experiencing homelessness in Thousand Oaks. This count represents the number of people who were identified as homeless on a single night in January 2020.
- The number of unsheltered individuals in Thousand Oaks increased by 45 percent from 2019 to 2020. This means that there was a significant rise in the number of people living on the streets or in places not meant for human habitation.
- Among the homeless population in Thousand Oaks, 32% reported suffering from a serious mental illness. This indicates that a significant portion of individuals experiencing homelessness in the city are also dealing with mental health challenges.
- In 2020, 15 percent of the homeless population in Thousand Oaks were veterans. This highlights the issue of homelessness among veterans and the need for targeted support and resources to address their specific needs.
- The majority of homeless individuals in Thousand Oaks, 68 percent, were unaccompanied adults. This means that a significant number of people experiencing homelessness in the city are not part of a family unit and are facing the challenges of homelessness on their own.
Unhoused People and Commercial Buildings
There is a considerable amount of news coverage about homeless encampments, camps of unhoused individuals and families that have become relatively commonplace throughout Los Angeles County. What is not as widely known is the extent to which unhoused people can be found sleeping at or other wise utilizing property that is privately owned, including areas owned by commercial enterprises like shopping centers. CenterPointe Mall is one such location.
Homeless individuals have been availing themselves of two stairwells on the premises of CenterPointe Mall, stairways that connect the Mall itself to a parking structure serving patrons. Eco Bear was called upon to assist in providing cleanup services for the mall within these stairwells utilized by unhoused persons.
The owners of CenterPointe retain the services of a third-party company that oversees maintenance and other issues at the Mall located in Thousand Oaks. This third-party vendor reached out to Eco Bear to undertake the specialized cleanup and remediation services that were required for the pair of stairwells in question.
State of Affairs in the Centerpointe Stairwells
One of the stairwells at CenterPointe was in a more untenable condition than the other. This particular stairwell was littered with garbage, abandoned items like clothing, and other discarded objects. The more cluttered and dirties stairwell was also littered with used hypodermic needles and other types of obvious drug paraphernalia. The stairwell presented with a strong stench of urine.
A brief note on the risks and hazards associated with urine in a location like the shopping mall stairwells. There are a number of ways in which human urine can be significantly harmful in a situation such as that at the Thousand Oaks shopping center .
- Risk of contracting infectious diseases or urinary tract infections.
- Potential exposure to harmful bacteria or viruses present in urine.
- Unpleasant odor and unsanitary conditions.
- Social and cultural stigma associated with exposure to urine.
- Potential damage to surfaces or materials due to the corrosive nature of urine
The second stairwell at CenterPointe was in better condition, but still required a thorough cleanup and remediation. It had less trash and did not appear to be contaminated by used hypodermic needles and the like.
Eco Bear Action Plan to Restore Stairwells to Safe and Accessible Condition
Eco Bear promptly dispatched two of its experienced homeless encampment cleanup professionals to CenterPointe. A total of nine hours were spent restoring the stairwell in a more dismal condition. Three hours were spent on the other one.
Eco Bear does more than collect and dispose of trash in a situation like that presented at CenterPointe. Yes, the company ensures that all trash, garbage, and other waste materials are safely and appropriately eliminated from the premises. And, yes, Eco Bear disposes of such materials in a manner consistent to state law and local regulations.
In addition, Eco Bear provided comprehensive sanitization of both stairwells. The objective is to ensure that the stairwells are returned to a pristine condition, a completely clean status that permits the safe usage of these stairwells by CenterPointe patrons, employees, vendors and others.
Finally, Eco Bear is committed to fee transparency and providing optimized and comprehensive cleanup and remediation services for the most reasonable costs in the industry. Our fees nearly always come in about 50 percent below the “competition.” In regard to the CenterPointe shopping mall remediation, we charged comprehensive cleanup and complete sanitization of the premises.