Hepatitis possible outbreak worries city officials

Hepatitis possible local outbreak...

CALEXICO, Calif. -

A group of Calexico homeless ate dinner in the cool lobby of city hall on Wednesday evening. Calexico Brown Bag Coalition officials said the ate-in was to make a point.

Coalition co-founder Maribel Padilla told city council, as she stood before them during the regular meeting, “the feeding’s going to be outside your doors. We’re going to feed them outside your doors so you can see them. So, you can’t forget about them. Out of sight out of mind? And when they’re done, I’m going to ask them to come in and sit here. This is going to be their cool center for tonight.”

Padilla told city council the homeless need a cool center for the summer.

“The advisories for excessive heat came out today and it’s through Friday. Today is going to be a 108. Let us have the community center, the senior citizen part of it. We will get the volunteers to man it during the day,” Padilla said.

Padilla stressed that giving the homeless a cool center will help prevent a feared hepatitis outbreak.

Coalition co-founder Norma Aguilar made an impassioned plea to city council, as well.

“They’re out there in three-degree weather,” Aguilar said.

City officials agree that more needs to be done for the homeless.

Outgoing City Mayor Armando Real said, “the city has to do a little bit more to help them out. I don’t think the city’s done its part.”

Newly appointed City Mayor Maritza Hurtado said the council is taking a serious look at the problem.

“The nights, the days are so hot and we’re looking to possibly assist with some type of better cooling center opportunities for them,” Hurtado said.

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