Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Skid Row is an area of Downtown Los Angeles. The area, officially known as Central City East, is home to one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the United States. [John Edwin Fuder, "Training Students for Urban Ministry: An Experiential Approach." Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock (2001).] Informal population estimates range from 7,000 to 8,000. People passing through this area immediately used to see cardboard box and camping tents lining the sidewalks. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the official boundaries of skid row are Third and Seventh Streets to the north and south and Alameda and Main Streets to the east and west, respectively. [cite web|url=http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/8138B5E4723C6FE988257150005B327E/$file/0455324.pdf?openelement| |format=PDF |title=The Ninth Circuit|publisher=The United States Court of Appeals|date=April 14, 2006|accessdate=2007-01-29] Now, because of heavy involvement with the missions downtown (Union Rescue Mission, LA Mission, Midnight Mission, etc.), LAPD [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/14/AR2007031402271.html L.A. Police Initiative Thins Out Skid Row - washingtonpost.com] ] , and the Mayor's office, the landscape has dramatically changed from mid-2006 to current.

In 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the amount of beds for the homeless was inadequate, and suspended the city's anti-camping ordinance within the official boundaries of Skid Row, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. During the day, homeless individuals are prohibited from sleeping on the sidewalk, although this rule is not regularly enforced. The city originally appealed but later settled the case with the ACLU, which permits sleeping on the streets between nine p.m. and six a.m. until 1,250 additional units are built for the homeless population. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/us/31skidrow.html Some Respite, if Little Cheer, for Skid Row Homeless - New York Times ] ]

L.A.'s Skid Row is sometimes called "the Nickel," because it is centered on Fifth Street. Most of the city's homeless and social-services providers, such as Volunteers of America, Union Rescue Mission, Downtown Women's Center, Frontline Foundation, Los Angeles Mission Community Clinic, Fred Jordan Mission and Midnight Mission, are based on Skid Row. An important development took place in 2007 when Union Rescue Mission finally opened a facility outside of Skid Row, known as Hope Gardens [ [http://www.hopegardens.org/ Hope Gardens Family Center] ] , which is exclusively for women and children.

The name is official enough that fire engines and ambulances serving the neighborhood have historically had "Skid Row" emblazoned on their sides. On 1 June 2006, the "Los Angeles Times" reported that fire officials planned to change the legend on the vehicles to read "Central City East". Many residents supported the change, but it was opposed by firefighters and some residents who take pride in the sense that they live in a tough place. [ [http://www.firestation9skidrow.com/help.html Fire Station 9 Skid Row] ]

Controversy

In 2005, 2006 and 2007, several local hospitals (including but not limited to Kaiser Permanente and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center) and suburban law enforcement agencies (including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department) were accused by the Los Angeles Police Department and other officials of transporting those homeless people in their care to Skid Row. [ [http://www.downtownnews.com/articles/2005/10/03/news/news01.txt LA Downtown News Online] ] [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless24mar24,0,2261615.story?coll=la-home-headlines New Census Takes to the Streets - Los Angeles Times] ]

References


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