Joint Statement re: State Use of Pomona Armory During State of Emergency

By Senator Connie M. Leyva, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval

Saturday, March 14, 2020

"Together as elected officials and community leaders of Pomona, we find it inappropriate that any federal representative would issue a misguided and misinformed statement, adding unnecessary confusion while we are in the midst of a pandemic by incorrectly saying homeless individuals with coronavirus are being “dumped” at a facility in Pomona. Stoking fear in our community while attempting to generate media attention at the height of a public health crisis is morally reprehensible.

To clarify: We were notified late Friday evening by officials that the National Guard is *NOT* conducting an assessment of possible armories across the state that could serve as potential quarantine sites to house individuals with the coronavirus. There are currently *NO* plans to move homeless patients with coronavirus to the armory facility in Pomona.

To further clarify: Local elected officials and agencies oppose any future use of the Pomona armory due to the many issues of its current state and that it is not equipped to accommodate individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Last year, the Pomona Mayor, Pomona city officials, Senator Leyva, Assemblymember Rodriguez, and Supervisor Solis worked together with the National Guard to oppose designating the Pomona Armory as a winter shelter because in its current dilapidated condition the armory is not a place to house anyone. In fact, we were successful in shutting down the armory after it had functioned as a winter shelter for 27 years.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together and cooperate among all levels of government to effectively protect our local communities. This is not the time to point fingers and spread rumors about our most vulnerable, defenseless neighbors. The coronavirus does not respect boundaries or borders: it affects people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, incomes, and backgrounds equally. To combat this virus, we must band together in compassion and solidarity for our friends, family, and neighbors who have been impacted by COVID-19.

This moment requires public officials to be truthful, and we urge interested parties to focus on bringing us more test kits, as well as a portion of the multi-billion emergency funding for our communities, especially Pomona. The federal government has clearly failed us and, as a result, the state must cover for its shortcomings."