Virus and the Valley: Remaining Hard At Work
May 21, 2020
As the fight against COVID-19 continues, so many of us have had to change the way we get things done. Like you, the entire Legislature has had to spend the last few weeks trying to work from home, and we’re just now starting to safely meet some of the physical demands the job requires. But please know that we have never stopped working for you.
Even with a good number of us back in the Capitol, many lawmakers have had to cut back on what we wanted accomplish this year. While the number of bills may have lessened, our focus remains on the health and safety of everyone, and that’s why I want to share this good news.
My Homeless Assistance Program Improvement Act of 2020 (SB 1065) is moving forward. This bill expands the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Homeless Assistance Program by broadening eligibility and increasing the period of assistance to avoid gaps in housing. CalWORKs is the state’s largest anti-poverty program, designed to move children out of poverty and help low-income families meet their most basic needs.
A 2019 study estimated that 8,000 families and 14,000 children were homeless in our state. The impact of homelessness on children is especially devastating, with issues spanning from hunger, lowered academic achievement, increased stress and depression, developmental delays, and overall poor mental health.
Since the Homeless Assistance (HA) program within CalWORKs is the only state entitlement program for homeless families with children, I believe that improving program eligibility is critical to protecting thousands of vulnerable Californians, especially given the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Next, the measure heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. I hope I have your support.
Please review the additional information my team has gathered for you in this newsletter. As always, I welcome your comments and questions via this link.
- Bob Hertzberg
HEALTH AND SAFETY
CASE NUMBERS PROVING PHYSICAL DISTANCING WORKS
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 7,667 cases of COVID-19 in the San Fernando Valley. That is an additional 257 cases since last reported. The three neighborhoods in the Valley with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 are Sylmar (619), Panorama City (579) and Van Nuys (570). Visit the Public Health website for the latest update.
LA COUNTY ISSUES FACE-COVERING PROTOCOLS
The County of Los Angeles has updated their face covering protocol and has the following tips.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR FACE COVERING:
- Always wash your hands before handling your face covering.
- Ensure the covering fits snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, and cover mouth and nose with no gaps.
- Secure it with ties or ear loops.
- Your covering should include multiple layers of fabric and allow for breathing without restriction. It should also be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your face covering.
- Wash your hands immediately after removal.
Watch the following video for best practices. County residents are required to wear face coverings when in contact with other people who are not household members (whether you're in a public or private space). So if you're on a solitary run or walk, and you see someone approaching, put on your face mask!
TIPS FOR AVOIDING FOGGY GLASSES:
- Wash your glasses with soapy water. Research has shown that washing glasses with soapy water and letting them air-dry before putting on your mask reduces fogging.
- Use tissue paper. Placing tissue paper between your glasses and the bridge of your nose may help absorb the moisture that causes foggy glasses.
This order is effective for all 10 million people who live in LA County. We urge you to contact your local jurisdiction to see if they've issued a face covering order. Where local jurisdictions have implemented face covering orders of their own, the stricter order will apply. If you still have questions on face coverings, read LA County's Department of Public Health Guidance on Face Coverings or visit their website.
VALLEY COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE OFFERS TELEMEDICINE
Valley Community Healthcare, a network of community health centers serving low-income patients in the San Fernando Valley, launched its telehealth system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government currently allows providers to use public platforms such as FaceTime and Skype, but the clinic is using the OTTO platform to streamline the process by connecting with existing electronic medical records and improving continuity of care on a virtual level.
“We serve a large number of patients who are continuing to work and also care for their families during this difficult time,” said Paula Wilson, chief executive of Valley Community Healthcare. “Being able to provide them health care services even if they can’t come in is absolutely vital.”
NEW SCAM ALERT
The California Department of Social Services (DSS) warns of a new pandemic-related scam. DSS reports that a fake letter has been sent to some public benefits recipients, and is also circulating on social media. The scam letter includes the forged signature of California’s Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly. The letter tells public assistance recipients that they must get tested for COVID-19 in order to continue their benefits. It also tells clients to visit a website and if they test positive, their children will be removed into foster care.
The letter and the website are fake. If you receive such a letter, please immediately contact DSS at (916) 651-8848 or email@example.com.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
NEW JOB POSTINGS
ABC7 has updated their job openings webpage. The postings include new categories like law enforcement, care takers and counselors, construction positions, customer service and dental office workers. There are also expanded sections on grocery, delivery, logistics, retail, HVAC, security and healthcare openings.
CBS2 posts video reports about available jobs, including with SoCal Edison and the LA County Probation Department.
“WE COUNT” SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
The 2020 Census is more vital than ever, and we cannot allow the pandemic to obscure the importance of filling out the survey. You can fill out the census online or by calling (844) 330-2020. The survey is available in 13 languages and can even be done from any mobile device. It takes 10 minutes to complete, but the effects will help determine the funding every community will get for the next 10 years.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES EXTENDS EASING OF PARKING ENFORCEMENT
Consistent with extended "Stay at Home" orders, certain parking regulations will remain relaxed until at least June 1, 2020. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) announced that, while some parking regulations are relaxed at this time, others remain enforced. LADOT has eased enforcement for residential street sweeping, expired registration on a vehicle, peak/rush hour and gridlock parking restrictions, and no ticket/tow for abandoned vehicles and overnight parking. Vehicles displaying recently expired permits within preferential parking districts will have a two-week grace period following the expiration to renew. Enforcement continues for metered parking, time limits within preferential parking districts (without a valid permit), posted time limits in residential and commercial areas, all posted Temporary No-Parking zones, any blocking of emergency access (fire hydrants, alleyways, etc.) and colored curb areas.
LAUSD VALLEY VIRTUAL TOWN HALLS
LAUSD is hosting various local virtual town hall meetings to provide parents with answers to education-related issues, including summer school, mental health and distance learning. Look on the monthly calendar for upcoming tele-town halls in your area. Click on the meeting to find the time. Some calendar postings include a registration link or flyer. For others, LAUSD will post a Zoom link so that you can join the meeting. You can also contact the local District office to get additional information. Phone numbers can be found on Local District Northeast and Local District Northwest websites. Upcoming virtual town halls in the Valley include: Van Nuys/Valley Glen, Sunland/Tujunga, North Hollywood/Valley Village, and San Fernando/Sylmar.
GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENS HELPING THE VALLEY DURING PANDEMIC
Several local corporations have stepped up during the pandemic to assist the community. Recently, Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal and The Literacy Club partnered to donate 1,800 children’s books to students in Pacoima, and distributed books during the “Grab and Go” lunch program at the G3 campus. The partnership plans to provide books to multiple communities where their facilities are located.
Last week, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) and LA Kings staff, fans and mascot Bailey held a donation event for North Hollywood’s LA Family Housing, to deliver hundreds of hygiene items for people transitioning out of homelessness. SoCal Gas and the Sempra Energy Foundation also teamed up to donate $50,000 to LA Family Housing (LAFH). Each year LAFH distributes 12,000 hygiene kits to people who are unhoused, living in temporary housing, and to families who have recently moved into a place of their own.
If you know about a good corporate citizen, let us know.
RESOURCES FOR HUMAN COMPANIONS
Mission Hills-based LA Best Friends Animal Society curated links to helpful COVID-19 related resources for pet owners. Linked information includes CDC pet recommendations, a free veterinary access app, the American Veterinary Association fact sheet, a pet preparedness plan, a bilingual pet preparedness plan, downloadable community kindness cards, and other helpful pet-related information.
REMEMBER, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
We have revised these updates to focus on issues important to the San Fernando Valley during the COVID-19 outbreak: health and safety, jobs and the economy, and Valley life. We appreciate your feedback. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. And please connect with me on Facebook and Twitter as my office continues to provide more information regarding the coronavirus pandemic.