South of Los Angeles Street
In the heart of the beautiful downtown city of angels, Los Angeles, there is a community that many have never set foot on. Many have heard of, seen films about, have walked through but have simply ignored this tragic truth of our city. “For what can one do?”, many say. Feet away from the wealthy sky rise lofts, hip coffee shops, expensive chef-driven restaurants, lives a community called Skid Row. With about 17,000 counted residents in a 50 city block, 8,000 unsheltered, Skid Row has become home to many men, women, and children.
It is no secret that Los Angeles has become the capital of unsheltered homeless in the country, with over 60,000 counted in the county and 36,000 in the city. It is a scene that is hard to take in at times which is what led me to try to understand the history of this historic community. I have been a volunteer for a non-profit called Share A Meal, where we walk the streets in various parts of the city, providing vegan burritos and water to anyone in need of a meal. I have dedicated my Monday nights for the past six years to the Skid Row service. Through this organization, I have made relationships with the people living on these streets. As I branched out outside the non-profit to the heart of Skid Row, I was advised by a man who went by, Repeat, “The moment it gets dark you make sure you're north of Los Angeles st., this ain't no place for a young lady to be at alone at night.”
I hope that through this body of work I can shine a light on what has become our ugly norm, to give voice to many who feel invisible, to provide just a hint of hope with simply listening. There is a lot we can do and a lot that needs to be done.