Supervisors to consider upgrades for disabled at Castaic emergency shelter


The county Board of Supervisors is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to spend $100,000 on improvements to emergency-shelter accommodations at the Castaic Sports Complex and Aquatic Center – making the shelter friendlier to disabled people.

It’s part of $1.6 million in proposed upgrades to 10 county-owned emergency sites.

The proposal grows of a settlement reached in a 2009 class-action lawsuit, alleging that Los Angeles County and the city of L.A. discriminated against people with “disabilities and access and functional needs” by failing to provide for them in some emergency plans.

According to a letter to the supervisors from Dave Chittenden, chief deputy director of the county’s Internal Services Department, “The County denied plaintiffs allegations yet understood more could be done to develop and implement specific initiatives designed to include the (disabled) community in the emergency planning and implementation process.’’

The suit was settled in 2012, and since then the plaintiffs and the county have worked together on potential solutions.

At the Castaic Sports Complex facility, located at 31320 North Castaic Road, the proposed improvements would include upgrades to an exterior travel path, parking spaces, a service counter, doors, an interior route, restrooms, a drinking fountain, signage and showers.

In the event of an emergency such as a large fire or flood, or an earthquake, the county would use the sports complex’s gymnasium for temporary housing for displaced area residents. Food, water, cots, blankets and other essentials would be provided.

The other nine emergency shelters where disability-related improvements would be made under the proposal are outside the Santa Clarita area.

According to Chittenden’s letter, 48 county-owned emergency sites have been evaluated for disability-related access and shelter suitability.

The proposal is listed on the supervisors’ Tuesday “consent calendar,” one of 72 items that are voted on collectively. Typically, items on the consent agenda are passed.

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