POMONA, CA – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) expressed shock and outrage today at reports that the State of California plans to transport homeless people infected with coronavirus from L.A. County to an armory in the heart of Pomona and drop them there.
The facility, a former homeless shelter that was decommissioned because of its dilapidated condition, has a leaking roof, non-functioning bathroom facilities, lacks air conditioning and heat, and has a significant asbestos problem.
The building is also at the heart of the community, with police and fire stations next door, as well as a jail, traffic and superior courts, and many small businesses that are already struggling in the economic slowdown.
“What I learned today is my hometown, Pomona, California, is being planned as a dumping ground for coronavirus,” Rep. Torres said. “I don’t care who thinks it is a good idea to ship homeless people infected with coronavirus to the heart of my community – whoever it is should be fired, immediately. At best, this is an utter failure of leadership at the state level, and at worst it is something much, much worse.
“The incompetence or ambivalence of this decision could put some of our community’s own defenders in harm’s way,” Torres continued. “There are fire fighters, police officers, and explorer volunteers who want nothing more than to protect the public – all of whom could be exposed. Anyone who has business in the local courts could be exposed. And the local shops that are already struggling in the economic slowdown will face more difficulty if the public avoids the area.
“People with coronavirus need ventilators – they need adequate medical attention – they need the kind of care that is not possible in an abandoned building,” Torres added. “The state must stop this immoral plan immediately, and I expect full accountability in the days to come.”