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Ujima Village community meeting

More than 250 people attended an informational meeting held by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, to receive an update on the environmental investigation into oil-related contamination at the former Ujima Village apartment complex.

Officials from the Los Angeles Regional Water Board, the Los Angeles Community Development Commission, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the County Assessor’s Office also were on hand at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health in Willowbrook, to provide the standing-room only crowd an overview of the ongoing soil, water and air quality sampling and to answer questions and address concerns. At the meeting’s outset, the Supervisor emphasized that there will be a series of community meetings to follow and that he is focused on relocating Little Honey’s Day Care Center, which is adjacent to the Ujima Village site, as quickly as possible. The meeting was often heated, with audience members expressing strong frustration and anger about the contamination at the complex where many said they had lived for decades. The former village residents asked a variety of questions concerning their health, the longevity of the investigation, and what they individually need to do in order to ensure their statements are included in the investigation.

Among the audience members were parents of children who attend Honey’s Little Angel’s Child Care Center.

Lynwood resident Cindy Alvarado has a four-year-old daughter who attends the day care center and said she came to the meeting to have the rumors set straight. “I’m trying to find out if there are chemicals around the school,” Cindy said, “Some people are saying that its dangerous for kids to attend the daycare, others are not.”

At the meeting, Executive Officer, Samuel Unger of the Water Board said environmental testing determined that contamination was far below ground, and that air quality for the neighborhood was consistent with that of the region.

Director of Environmental Health, Angelo Bellomo of the Department of Public Health said that the contamination does not currently present a threat to human health at the daycare site or at the former site of the village, but most of the audience greeted that assertion with a high degree of skepticism.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas emphasized that the experts were on hand to provide information to residents — not to tell them what to think.

Click here to download an FAQ from the Los Angeles Water Quality Control Board.

You are cordially invited to a special tree lighting ceremony

You are cordially invited to join Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas this holiday season for a special tree of hope tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 16, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-service Ambulatory Care Center. This is the third annual event of its kind and will feature free parking, live entertainment starting at 5:30 p.m. Reserve your spot today by contacting majones@bos.lacounty.gov or calling 213-974-1425.  Click here to download the flier (as a PDF document).

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina call for outreach strategy for In-Home Supportive Services recipients program

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday braced for severe cuts to the County’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), a program that provides at-home assistance for eligible seniors, people who are legally blind and people with disabilities. For many of the 184,000 County’s recipients, receiving a few hours a month of care allows them to remain at home instead of moving into a nursing home or board and care facility.

If next month’s state revenue forecast falls short of $87 billion, the California Department of Social Services (DPSS) will be required to slash the hours of monthly service to IHSS recipients by 20 percent. Current revenues indicate that the planned cuts are likely to be implemented by January 1, 2012, and DPSS estimates that the majority of Los Angeles County residents who receive IHSS benefits, as well as the majority of their 140,039 providers, will lose an average of 16 hours of service and/or work.

“These potential budget reductions could have far reaching implications on the quality of life of more than 300,000 residents of the County of Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, before the Board vote. “IHSS impacts all five districts in a very important way.”

Acting on a joint motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina, the board directed Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka to assemble a task force that will develop an outreach strategy to inform consumers of the change and to prepare to process the anticipated high numbers of consumers who will likely request and submit applications for exclusion.

Although this 20 percent reduction is not subject to appeal, consumers can request an evaluation to be excluded from the cut and maintain the same level of service. To do so, however, recipients must submit an application for exclusion to the Department of Public Social Services within 15 days of receiving a notice of action.

Rachel Scherer of Disability Rights California applauded the steps taken by the Board, warning that the service cuts could trigger a “humanitarian crisis.” People with Alzheimer’s disease who need prompting from workers to take their medication or to eat, she said, could be left to languish.

“People will die in their homes or will have to go to a nursing home or facility,” Scherer said.

The Board also approved a friendly amendment by Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky instructing the Department of Health Services to evaluate the impact of the 20 percent reduction on IHSS providers. The workers who care for the at-home care population are themselves vulnerable to losing health care coverage, should their hours of work fall below state requirements.

Kiya Stokes of the Service Employees International Union also spoke in favor of the supervisors’ motion, noting that care providers who do not meet the 77-hour monthly quota could themselves need county assistance obtaining health care.

The Board directed the CEO to determine how many workers would lose their health care benefits, what would be the impact to the County and whether those workers would be eligible for alternative coverage such as that provided by Healthy Way L.A..

Click here for press release (as PDF document).

Board approves $3.97 million for Hubert Humphrey Urgent Care Center

Hubert Humphrey Urgent Care Center in South Los Angeles will soon be receiving an upgrade and increasing its capacity to serve the public. The Board of Supervisors today allocated nearly four million to remodel the 6,000-square-foot Urgent Care facility.

The action by the Board authorizes J.R. Abbot Construction to design and construct a new 2,000-square-foot waiting room, seven new exam rooms, add 50 additional parking spaces, renovate the security office and upgrade the fire alarm system throughout the facility.

“This facility is located approximately four miles from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center Campus,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, “It is my goal to see that constituents have access top quality medical care right in their own community.”

As part of the Board’s approval of the expansion project, a local worker hire component affixed to the project will ensure that local residents have first priority when contractors select workers for construction of the urgent care center. Residents who live within a five-mile radius will be given priority at the time of hiring, and County residents in zip codes where unemployment exceeds 150% of the county average also will now have special access to jobs.

“The local worker hire component of this renovation project will create jobs where they are most needed,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, “And at the same time this renovation ensures that county residents will receive valuable services in a refurbished facility for decades to come.”

Click here for press release (as PDF document).

Healthy Way LA health care coverage program

What is Healthy Way LA?

Healthy Way LA is a no-cost health care program available to low-income residents of Los Angeles County.  People who qualify for the program can choose from more than 100 different locations to receive health care.

Who is eligible?
Adults who meet the following criteria:

  • Are United States citizens or have been legal permanent resident for at least five years
  • Are Los Angeles County residents
  • Are between 19 and 64 years of age
  • Have a monthly income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, or  $1,207 per month for a family of one.
  • Are not pregnant and not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families

How do I enroll?
To enroll in Healthy Way LA you must fill out an application and provide proof of citizenship/legal resident status, Los Angeles County residency, personal identification, and income.  Your original documents will be photocopied and returned to you.  Some examples of acceptable documents are:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • U.S. Birth Certificate or Military Record
  • Driver’s License, School Identification with photo, or U.S. Military Identification card
  • Evidence of income (i.e., current paycheck stubs, Federal Income Tax Return, California Unemployment or Disability income, award letters, etc.)

Where to apply for Healthy Way LA*:

Harbor/UCLA Medical Center
Patient Financial Services
1000 West Carson Street
Building 3-South
Torrance, CA 90509
(310) 222-3012

LAC+USC Medical Center
1100 N. State Street, Room A6F
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 409-4383
(323) 409-4779

Olive View/UCLA Medical Center
14445 Olive View Drive
2nd Floor, Room 2D142
Sylmar, CA 91342

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
7601 E. Imperial Hwy, Building 602
Downey, CA 90242
(562) 401-7320

High Desert Health System
Munsie Building – ORSA/HWLA Office
44900 North 60th St. West
Lancaster, CA 93536
(661) 945-8227

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center
12021 S. Wilmington Ave.,
Floor 5A, Room 7
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(310) 668-3200

*Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please click here for a PDF version of a printable notice that you will need to take with you for HWLA.  For help or additional information call 877-333-HWLA.