Street Mail: SM. News release (fwd)

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 00:59:08 -0800 (PST)


fyi...Pat Myers
Subject: Street Mail: SM.  News release

NEWS RELEASE

 For Immediate Release


Headline: FAST COMMENCES FOR 24 HOUR BATHROOM FACILITIES

Larry Milligan, phone number (619) 424-7857, local homeless advocate, 
begins a fast Thursday, December 4, 1997 at 2:00 p.m. outside the public
restroom on Third and C Street in downtown San Diego. Larry Milligan is
bringing the fast for two reasons.

One reason is to ease the pain of his homeless neighbors, who reside 
in the City of San Diego and do not have 24 hour access to public restroom 
facilities. The other reason is to work through the humiliation and shame
of the homeless community being denied the fundamental human right of
hygiene and 24 hour public bathroom facilities in the City of San Diego.

Larry Milligan says to the City 
and his homeless neighbors that "I am happy to be alive at the same time
that they are and that you have helped me in my struggle, in my own
spiritual road. It is not a case of judging or confrontation. It is a case
of realizing within ourselves, as sacred human beings, the
true meaning of the giving of our lives.

For the past seven years, Larry Milligan has attempted to obtain 24 hour
bathroom facilities in the City of San Diego through petitions, 
through communication with the City Council, and through protests. In the
early 1990's, Larry Milligan presented the City Council with more than
8,000 signatures from the  community who supported 24 hour bathroom
facilities in the City of San Diego. 

In 1991, The City Task Force on the Homeless was created because of the
activity of the homeless community, through demonstrations and political
support from John Hartley's (former City Council Member) office. The City
Task Force unanimously voted for the opening of 24 hour bathroom 
facilities in the City of San Diego. The opening 
of 24 hour bathroom facilities was subsequently incorporated into the 
comprehensive Homeless Policy of the City of San Diego, voted unanimously
into effect in 1995 by the City Council. The Comprehensive Homeless Policy
specifically supports and recommends that "24 hour public restroom
facilities will be made available to the homeless population." See page 4,
paragraph 4 of the Comprehensive Homeless Policy, which is enclosed with
this news release.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 4, 1997, Larry Milligan
gave each member of the City Council a copy of the Comprehensive 
Homeless Policy, and he asked how can we work through this shame and
humiliation together. Larry Milligan informed the City Council that the
policy of 24 hour bathroom facilities has
not been carried out. Larry Milligan also mentioned that hygiene is a 
very basic, fundamental human right. A month later, neither the City
Council nor the Mayor's office has contacted Larry Milligan.

Brian Mahoney, Esq., a member of the Board of Directors of Homeless
Advocates of San Diego states "Back in 1995, the City Council adopted 
a Comprehensive Homeless Policy that supported 24 hour public restroom 
facilities.

Two years later, this policy has not been put into effect. Actions  speak
louder than words and the City Council's actions show that they do not
care about the fundamental rights of our homeless neighbors. One's need
to use a bathroom does not begin at 7:00 a.m. and end at 10:00 p.m., which
is the time the restroom at Third and C is open to the public. Proper
hygiene requires access to bathroom facilities 24 hours a day.

Moreover, providing 24 hour public restroom facilities is a public health
concern and will save money in the end. Doctor Georges M. Argoud, 
M.D., F.A.C.P., (619) 426-0404, states that: "Lack of access to rest rooms
and the inability of the homeless to wash their hands after using the
restroom increases the incidence of gastrointestinal and skin infections
and hepatitis. These acute infections associated with vomiting and 
diarrhea superimposed on preexisting medical conditions in the
homeless, e.g., malnutrition, result in severe adverse effects often 
leading to an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization. The 
decompensation of an already compromised patient significantly increases
the cost of medical care that is shouldered by the County Indigent
Program. 

Arranging availability of 24 hour access to restrooms for the homeless is
a humane action that will reduce infections and the cost of medical care
in homeless persons.

Contact:
Brian M. Mahoney
Attorney at Law
707 Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-0286