Skid Row was established by city officials in 1976 as an unofficial “containment zone” where shelters and services for homeless people would be tolerated due to the fact that it was a designated area. Skid Row has become a powerful representation of the deep-rooted issues surrounding homelessness and poverty in our society.
With thousands of man, woman, kids, adults struggling to find stability and escape the cycle of homelessness. The challenges faced by those living in Skid Row are complex and multifaceted.
Over several decades, Skid Row continued to expand. Veterans of war, drug addicts, and others unable to pay the exorbitant rentals in the downtown Los Angeles area flocked to this 54-block area, with many spending the nights in tattered tents on the streets.
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13 Haunting Images Of Skid Row in LA
The Origin of Skid Row in the City of Los Angeles
“Skid row” or “skid road,” which refers to a section of a city where people live who are “on the skids,” is derived from a term that was used in the logging industry. The term began to be used for places where people with no money and nothing to do gathered.
Two Catholic Workers — Catherine Morris, a former nun, and her husband, Jeff Dietrich — founded the “Hippie Kitchen” in the back of a van, during the 1970s. They continued to be active in their work of feeding residents of Skid Row even after more than forty years had passed, in March 2019, when they were 84 and 72 years old.
Many Vietnam veterans moved to Skid Row in the 1960s and 1970s because of the missions and services that were already established there, and they also felt excluded from other communities. Many of them ended up on the streets, just like those who came after World War Two. At this period, Skid Row’s population changed from being predominately white and elderly to what they are now.
Rising Of Skid Row In Los Angeles
Skid Row in LA spans 54 city blocks. It connects 3rd Street north, 7th Street south, Main Street west, and Alameda Street east. Several reasons fueled the area’s expansion in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In Skid Row, hospitals often dropped out unhoused people who didn’t live there. The “containment” policy is usually considered a failure. Skid Row filled with people over time.
The 1980s crack epidemic worsened the city’s homeless situation, while the 1990s recession brought more women and children. The city sought to reduce homelessness by adding police or tightening Skid Row rules, but nothing worked. The Daily Beast claimed in 2015 that 14.5% of homeless Los Angeles residents had “serious alcohol problems and a lifetime diagnosis of schizophrenia”.
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Today’s homeless population in Los Angeles
In December 2023, 47,000 Los Angeles people are homeless. About 5,000 reside in Skid Row tent camps, automobiles, or homeless shelters. The city’s expanding homelessness problem has no solution in sight, according to city officials.