Emergency Cooling Shelters Opened: This One is Empty

The parking lot by the Westchester Senior Center is filled with garbage. Councilman Mike Bonin’s office is the brick building across the lot in the corner.

The interior of the sole cooling center on the Westside of Los Angeles, the Westchester Senior Center, was clean and cool on September 1 when CTN signed in. This editor’s name was only the second on the list.

Although the temperature outside was nearly 100 degrees, and many who live on the Westside don’t have air conditioning, the room was empty.

Recreation staff thought they might get five people through the weekend, into Monday. That would be five people over four days.

The 100+-degree temperatures are some of the hottest of the year and are expected to last into Monday. Pets are welcome with their owners at the cooling centers, if the dog is on a leash. Why was this cooling center empty?

To get to the front door, one had to go around a semi-naked man. This is a man who has been offered help, but refuses.

This man is near the entrance of the cooling center (blue door). He has been offered help, but refuses.

The parking lot was filled with trash and broken-down RVs. There seem to be additional vehicles since CTN visited two weeks ago. No one seems to know where they’re coming from.

A five-year resident, who drove through the parking lot, as she was trying to get to the library, said “I know elderly people who don’t want to come because the parking lot is so dirty. It smells like urine.”

The senior pointed to the piles of trash and the broken-down vans. “My family doesn’t want me to come because they say it’s not safe.

“It’s so sad, it used to be really nice,” she said, and pointed to the handicapped parking spaces in front of the senior center, which were filled with litter. “People with mobility issues don’t have any place to park.”

She pointed to a van and said, “That vehicle dweller is really mean.”

An RV vehicle and its owners two cars took up eight spaces in front of the library – leaving only parking spaces between people living in cars or vans. “Seniors would rather go to Playa Vista than here,” she said.

The resident was asked if she had contacted Councilman Mike Bonin, whose office is on that property in the same parking lot. “I have emailed him, but no response,” she said. “That Bonin will not do anything.”

Another resident said that the County Health Department had been contacted about the rats, cockroaches and jugs of human urine that are found in the parking lot.

To access the cooling center, one needs to walk around a pile of garbage.


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