While the majority of Beverly Hills residents may be aware of the potential ramifications of COVID-19, many of the City’s most vulnerable remain in the dark. In an effort to preserve human life, the City’s Human Services division is providing vital services to at-risk residents by directly calling them on the phone, working with various partners and urging those who need help or know of those who do to contact the department.
In addition to helping support the City’s elderly population, the Human Services division is also assisting those with special needs, low income residents, and those who are disabled or homeless. Of paramount importance is encouraging all residents to follow the Safer at Home directive, said Human Services Administrator James Latta.
“We’re finding that a lot of our seniors really just don’t get the Safer at Home mandate,” Latta told the Courier. “That’s a struggle.”
Many seniors in the City don’t understand the urgency of staying at home, with many continuing to go out shopping. Latta characterized the special senior shopping hours at markets as a “confusing message.”
“It’s really a deadly issue,” he said. “If you get this virus and you’re at risk, you’re really in trouble.”
With a sizable percentage of Beverly Hills residents susceptible to complications related to COVID-19, the Human Services division is urging them to contact the department to speak with a social worker at 310-285-1078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone is available to speak from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
From helping people control their problems with anxiety to facilitating access to food, medication and other services (which can be a real challenge for those who don’t use the Internet) the City’s Human Services department is working to positively impact as many lives as possible.
Latta told the Courier that the City has been in contact with Menorah Housing to ensure that the residents at 225 N. Crescent Dr. are safe and practicing social distancing across its 150 units. In addition, the department is continuing to work closely with Jewish Family Service ( JFS) for seniors who need immediate assistance.
The City is also working with Roxbury Community Center, Beverly Hills Meals on Wheels and JFS to deliver food to approximately 70 seniors isolated at home.
In the past week, Los Angeles County has taken over a multitude of recreation centers at local parks and converted them into pop-up shelters with beds spaced six feet apart, police presence and even a nurse on site. Nearby there are shelters at the recreation centers in Cheviot Hills, Westwood and Pan Pacific parks. In line with the County’s effort to help bring the homeless population (an estimated 60,000-plus people) off the streets in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, Latta said that Beverly Hills is likewise encouraging homeless people to take advantage of these shelters.
“We’re trying to do our best as a division and as a City to help encourage our homeless population to get into these shelters,” Clinical Program Coordinator Rachel Evans told the Courier.
The City is actively looking for volunteers to help serve Beverly Hills’ most vulnerable communities, whether it be by reading to people over the phone, so they feel less isolated or going shopping for groceries.
Those looking to help others in ways beyond Beverly Hills’ local effort are also encouraged to donate blood through the American Red Cross (www.redcrossblood.org) or connect with Project Angel Food, an organization that prepares and delivers meals to chronically ill and immunosuppressed individuals in need, by contacting email@example.com or calling 323- 845-1816.