LA City Council Considers Creating Volunteer Medical Corps to Aid Homeless

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.
February 17, 2022Updated: February 17, 2022

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council is considering creating a team of volunteer medical professionals that can provide homeless Angelenos with medical services.

The council unanimously voted on Feb. 16 in favor of a motion—introduced by Councilman Joe Buscaino and seconded by Councilman Gil Cedillo—asking the city administrator and the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to make recommendations on the creation of a volunteer emergency medical corps to serve the city’s homeless population.

Buscaino said over 1,000 unhoused Angelenos die on the streets every year.

“LA, as we know, is home to a large number of major research and teaching hospitals with thousands of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals,” Buscaino said before the vote. “We have got to look at ways of mobilizing this human capital onto our streets and organizing a volunteer medical corps to help provide medicine to the unhoused.”

In his motion, Buscaino noted that homeless people typically don’t have access to medical services, and they often rely on the fire department’s emergency paramedics for care.

A medical corps dedicated to serving the homeless would provide better “non-emergency street medicine service,” as well as alleviate the burden on emergency care providers, such as the fire department’s paramedics, the police department, and hospital emergency rooms, according to Buscaino’s motion.

Cedillo commended Buscaino for taking action, though he said the issue needed a comprehensive, infrastructure-level solution.

“It’s not the comprehensive solution we need … but it is in fact a step forward as we prepare the infrastructure for the type of comprehensive changes we need, and all of us are beginning to talk about [it],” Cedillo said during the meeting.

Studio City Neighborhood Council President Randall Fried submitted a written comment in support of the motion.

“Given the large number of trained medical professionals in the area, it makes total sense to…[establish] a volunteer emergency medical corps … to provide medical services to persons experiencing homelessness,” Fried wrote on behalf of the neighborhood group. “This will improve the quality of life for the unhoused and reduce the number of 911 calls and emergency room visits where many homeless persons receive their primary medical care.”

The motion did not specify a timeline for the city administrator to evaluate the feasibility of the plan and come up with a report.

A spokesperson for Joe Buscaino, as well as the LAFD, did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline.