At a regular city council meeting on Monday, November 15, 2021 The West Hollywood City Council moved item 5.A to consent asking City Staff to explore increased restroom access for unhoused individuals as well as around nightlife and entertainment venues.
Staff will seek input from the City’s Public Facilities Commission, the Human Services Commission, the Public Safety Commission, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, West Hollywood community members currently experiencing homelessness and other stakeholders as appropriate. It will explore state and county funding opportunities for the implementation and ongoing operations. Staff will then return to Council with analysis and recommendations, including potential sites, opportunities and challenges, and fiscal impacts.
In a follow-up to previous discussions, and issues raised at various City meetings and
forums, the City Council Subcommittee on Homelessness is seeking options to increase
access to public restrooms within the City. The goal of increased access through
additional and alternative facilities is to reduce the amount of public urination and
defecation in the City, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all those who live, work,
and visit the City as well as enhancing public health.
Publicly accessible restrooms have traditionally been available at City Hall, in the City
parks and at the West Hollywood Library. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic,
those facilities were closed and public access has remained limited. Additionally, those
facilities are not open 24 hours per day, with access limited to the varied operating hours of each facility.
When these public facilities closed abruptly, many community members experiencing
homelessness were left with no access to restrooms. As the COVID pandemic has clearly illuminated, access to hygiene services (including handwashing) is vital to the greater public health.
According to the staff report, Council Subcommittee on Homelessness is bringing forward this item for consideration by the full City Council, but issues of public urination and defecation are not solely impacts related to homelessness. The areas of the city around nightlife and entertainment venues have also been impacted by these issues and the quality of life and health concerns they raise, and those areas should also be included in siting and implementation discussions.
Item 5.A was moved to consent by a unanimous vote sans, council member Lindsey Horvath who was absent at last night’s meeting.