I know this is a stressful time. For many it is difficult to adjust to working remotely (if we are fortunate enough to have jobs allowing us to continue to do so). It is a daily challenge to balance diminishing (or disappearing) budgets, children's at-home-learning schedules, and domestic responsibilities. Even though we are staying home to flatten the curve, we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones physically and emotionally healthy. It is certainly difficult for everyone to find ways to balance, prioritize and filter the waves of often heartbreaking and frightening news.
The Mayor has stated that we should realistically prepare for remaining under the Safer At Home emergency order for at least another two months. While you physically and economically make adjustments for this extended timeline that you consider implementing psychological care practices, as well. Remember that social distancing guidelines are physical, not emotional, and that everyone is learning to adapt to a new way of life.
Mental Health Services and Domestic Violence Protection
The Coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially those with mental illness. Both the anxiety of contracting the disease as well as the increase in loneliness and isolation can worsen and trigger symptoms. Los Angeles County offers mental health services for those suffering loneliness or anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic and have set up a number to call for resources: 800-854-7771.
But home may not be a safe place if you are experiencing relationship violence or dating abuse. According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, domestic abuse victims are currently in a ‘worst case scenario’ during outbreaks and women’s shelters are bracing for a surge in domestic violence as Coronavirus quarantines isolate survivors. In fact, r esearch has found a relationship between natural disasters and increased rates of interpersonal violence, especially among households that experience significant financial strain.
Even with closures and scaled-back services, there is still help out there, especially for those who need emergency services. Los Angeles Police stations have closed their front desks in response to COVID-19. However, victims seeking a temporary restraining order or an emergency protective order can go to their local stations and they will be assisted. Each police station has a night-watch detective available to assist domestic violence victims.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call L.A. County’s DV hotline at 1-800-978-3600.
Call Peace Over Violence at 310-392-8381 and 213-626-3393 for crisis counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing support, information, compassion, referrals and advocacy.
Enforcing the Safer At Home Order & Business Ambassadors Program
The “Safer at Home” emergency order requires Angelenos to remain in their homes except for the most essential activities — including critical tasks such as securing food and health, safety and medical necessities, as well as caring for children, elder adults, family, friends and people with disabilities. Failure to heed the order is a misdemeanor that can result in fines or jail time.
City Attorney Mike Feuer has assigned his Neighborhood Prosecutor team to work with the Los Angeles Police Department to seek compliance and enforce the City’s order when necessary.
In addition to the City Attorney’s Neighborhood Prosecutors, the Mayor announced the formation of the “Safer at Home” Business Ambassadors program — which deploys City workers and volunteers with the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team to businesses that appear to be out of compliance with the emergency order with a goal of securing voluntary compliance. If voluntary compliance is not achieved, the ambassadors will share information with the City Attorney and LAPD for follow-up. Members of the public can report out-of-compliance businesses at coronavirus.lacity.org/reportbusinessviolation.
LA Department of Building & Safety Online
The LA Department of Building & Safety Call Center is experiencing a higher volume of requests for inspections related to construction and code enforcement than they can manage in a timely manner. Therefore, the Department is strongly urging you to submit requests for inspections and code enforcement complaint referrals using the following online methods:
Use the LADBSGO Mobile App by downloading instructions at http://ladbs.org/LADBSGo/
Novel Coronavirus Testing Appointments
The City's website has an online portalto sign up to get tested for the Novel Coronavirus. These tests are strictly limited to residents of Los Angeles who are in the most high-risk categories and most vulnerable. If you think you might have symptoms, and you are over 65, and/or have underlying health issues, please sign up athttps://lacovidprod.service-now.com.
Be Counted. Complete the 2020 Census
The 2020 Census invitations continue to arrive in mailboxes across the nation but you can easily and quickly respond online. America is stepping up to shape our future and ensure families and communities are counted. 2020 Census field operations will be suspended until April 1, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions. Watch this helpful video to learn more about the 2020 Census and why it is so important that you participate. For more information, visit https://2020census.gov/
Free Online Access to Arts and Culture
Explore the ever-expanding wealth of free arts and culture now available through Google Arts & Culture FREE portal to both local museums and galleries as well as cultural wonders from around the world.
The Los Angeles Public Libraries might be closed due to the Coronavirus but digital services remain available 24/7, including e-books and audiobooks; streaming TV, movie and music services; classes and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines at LAPL.org
Access to Fresh Food
The Westwood Village Farmers' Market will be OPEN today, Thursday, March 26 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Free parking is available in the Broxton Public Parking Structure at 1036 Broxton Ave.
Market staff, farmers, and producers are committed to providing safe and reliable access to nutritious foods necessary to sustain a healthy community. The market has been reconfigured to allow for maximum social distancing, and all vendors will adhere to newly revised health and safety standards. Read the new rules and guidelines from the California Department of Public Health at www.thewestwoodvillage.com.
Connecting Angelenos to Healthy Food Resources
City Controller Ron Galperin offers a useful online to locate local food pantries, LAUSD’s Grab and Go centers and farmers’ markets across the City in order to help Angelenos locate food and meals to stay healthy and meet nutrition needs during this pandemic. You can find the food access map at lacontroller.org/foodaccess
What You Can Do To Help
The health crisis has impacted every part of our lives and devastated our most vulnerable communities. To help union members in need, IBEW is holding one of the largest food drives in their history with plans to feed up to current 2,000 families on Friday, March 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Click here to register for their food distribution today. If you would like to volunteer for the event, please click here.
Donate to the Mayor’s Emergency Relief Fund
Support is provided by the Mayor’s Disaster Advisory Council (MDAC), a group of private-sector partners supporting fundraising for emergency response and relief.
CD5 Restaurant Survey
Please continue to support local businesses by ordering takeout and/or delivery, and by purchasing gift cards for future purchases. Another way you can help is to tell us about your favorite eateries and restaurants so that we can help promote their services and give residents better access to local food options. We are grateful for your continued support of our neighborhood establishments.
CD5 Featured Restaurant: FOOD-LA
FOOD-LA, located at 10571 Pico Blvd., is a neighborhood market providing home-cooked meals including soups, sides and sweets. In addition to their prepared foods they have a wonderful variety of groceries for purchase. You can call in your order and have your bag prepared for curbside pickup. Visit www.food-la.com for more information.
Whether you are looking for everyday items to stock your larder or choice ingredients to create a home-cooked meal, we’ve got the goods. Our prepared entrees, soups, sides and sweets as well as our cheese and wine selections, can make for a complete take-home meal or complement your own home-made dishes.
I know these are really confusing times and that new information is changing quickly, so please continue to check and verify official information through these credible resources:
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District