Skid Row, Los Angeles

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Skid Row
—  Neighborhoods of Los Angeles  —
Central City East
Skid Row is located in Downtown Los Angeles
Skid Row
Location within Downtown Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°02′39″N 118°14′38″W / 34.044232°N 118.243886°W / 34.044232; -118.243886
Country United States
State California
CountyCounty of Los Angeles
City Los Angeles
Government
 • City CouncilJan Perry, Jose Huizar
 • State AssemblyJohn Pérez (D)
 • State SenateGilbert Cedillo (D)
 • U.S. HouseLucille Roybal-Allard (D)
Area[1]
 • Total11.2 km2 (4.31 sq mi)
Population (2000)[2]
 • Total17,740
 • Density1,587/km2 (4,111/sq mi)
ZIP Code90013
Area code(s)213
 
  (Redirected from Skid Row, Los Angeles, California)
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Coordinates: 34°02′39″N 118°14′38″W / 34.044232°N 118.243886°W / 34.044232; -118.243886

Skid Row
—  Neighborhoods of Los Angeles  —
Central City East
Skid Row is located in Downtown Los Angeles
Skid Row
Location within Downtown Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°02′39″N 118°14′38″W / 34.044232°N 118.243886°W / 34.044232; -118.243886
Country United States
State California
CountyCounty of Los Angeles
City Los Angeles
Government
 • City CouncilJan Perry, Jose Huizar
 • State AssemblyJohn Pérez (D)
 • State SenateGilbert Cedillo (D)
 • U.S. HouseLucille Roybal-Allard (D)
Area[1]
 • Total11.2 km2 (4.31 sq mi)
Population (2000)[2]
 • Total17,740
 • Density1,587/km2 (4,111/sq mi)
ZIP Code90013
Area code(s)213

Skid Row, officially known as Central City East,[3] is an area of Downtown Los Angeles. As of the 2000 census, the population of the district was 17,740.[4]

Contents

Description

Though the situation has improved, homelessness remains a constant problem for the residents of Skid Row

The area contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the United States.[5] Local homeless count estimates have ranged from 3,668 to 5,131. The estimate for 2011 was 4,316 people. People passing through this area see cardboard boxes and camping tents lining the sidewalks. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the official boundaries are Third and Seventh Streets to the north and south and Alameda and Main Streets to the east and west, respectively.[6] Now, because of heavy involvement with the missions downtown, LAPD,[7] 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 number 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. 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.[8]

Most of the city's homeless and social-services providers such as Volunteers of America, Union Rescue Mission, The Jonah Project, Downtown Mental Health (a branch of the Department of Mental Health), LAMP, Downtown Women's Center, The Weingart Foundation, Los Angeles Mission Community Clinic, Fred Jordan Mission, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Cardinal Manning Center,[9] and Midnight Mission, are based on Skid Row. In 2007, Union Rescue Mission opened Hope Gardens, a facility outside of Skid Row which is exclusively for women and children.[10]

The name is official enough that fire engines and ambulances serving the neighborhood have historically had "Skid Row" emblazoned on their sides.[11] On June 1, 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 area.[12]

On July 10, 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the area. They visited a school for the arts for disadvantaged children. [13]

History

At the end of the 19th century, residential hotels began to develop in the area. The area became home to transients of seasonal laborers. [1] Since the mid-1970s, Los Angeles has chosen to centralize homeless services in Skid Row. Los Angeles has a long-standing "policy of concentrating and containing the homeless in the Skid Row area". In the late 1980s, James K. Hahn (Los Angeles City Attorney from 1985 to 2001 and later Mayor) refused to prosecute the homeless for sleeping in public under the anti-camping ordinance, unless the City provides them with an alternative to the streets, on the grounds that the law is a violation of the 8th Amendment. In 1999, the rent for an SRO room (housing for very low income persons typically consisting of a single room with shared bathroom) in Los Angeles was $379 per month. [2]

Over 253,000 people were homeless in Los Angeles County at some point during 2002. [3] Wait-lists for public housing and for housing assistance vouchers in Los Angeles were 3 to 10 years long. In 2003, Los Angeles's homeless population was growing 10% per year. The City of Los Angeles enacted the old "anti-camping" ordinance, under which the punishment for sleeping on public land is arrest and one night in jail. Police discard blankets, cooking utensils, and tents. This forces homeless to stay awake and to keep moving.

By 2005, Skid Row was a place of poverty, drug use, and crime, with Porta-Potty outhouses used for sleeping, drug use, drug dealing, and prostitution. The original purpose of the Porta-Potties was to prevent defecation on the street. [4]

In September, 2005, hospitals and law enforcement from nearby suburban areas were caught "dumping" homeless people at Skid Row upon their release. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered an investigation. L.A.P.D. Chief William Bratton said that the Department does not target the homeless specifically, but only people who violate city ordinances.

In 2006, there were 80,000 homeless individuals in Los Angeles County on any given night. [5] The area is now largely occupied by SRO hotels, shelters, and other facilities for the homeless. Typically, there is not enough space in these shelters, so more than 1,000 people are unable to find shelter each night. In L.A. County, there are almost 50,000 more homeless people than available beds. [6] The availability of low-income housing in Skid Row had shrunk by 2006. At night, these shelters are the only alternatives to sleeping on the street. During the day, two small parks are open to the public to sleep in. Those who cannot get into these shelters sleep on sidewalks.

In April, 2006, Edward Jones and the ACLU sued the City of Los Angeles, on behalf of Robert Lee Purrie and five other homeless, for the city's violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, sections 7 and 17 of the California Constitution (supporting due process and equal protection and prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment). The Court ruled in favor of the ACLU, stating that, "the LAPD cannot arrest people for sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks in Skid Row." Enforcement of section 41.18(d) 24 hours a day against persons who have nowhere to sit, lie, or sleep other than on public streets and sidewalk is breaking these Amendments. The Court said that the anti-camping ordinance is "one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States." The Court said of homeless, "14% are victims of domestic violence." Edward Jones and the ACLU wanted a compromise in which the L.A.P.D. is barred from enforcing section 41.18(d) (arrest, seizure, and imprisonment) in Skid Row between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. The compromise plan permits the homeless to sleep on the sidewalk, provided they are not "within 10 feet of any business or residential entrance" and only between these hours. One of the motivations for the compromise is the shortage of space in the prison system. Downtown development business interests and the Central City Association (CCA) are against the compromise. Police Chief William Bratton said the case had slowed the police effort to fight crime and clean up skid row, and that when he was allowed to clean up skid row, real estate profited. [7] On September 20, 2006, Los Angeles City Council voted to reject the compromise. [8] On October 3, 2006, police arrested Skid Row's transients for sleeping on the streets for the first time in months.[9] [10]

Today, Skid Row is the nation's largest spot for the homeless. 50,000 people are on the streets on any given night.[11] The Occupy LA protest also took place in Skid Row. Participants included the homeless of L.A.'s Skid Row. Their encampment was destroyed by police.

Demographics

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 17,740 people and 2,410 households residing in the neighborhood. The population density was 4,111/mi². The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 25.5% White, 16.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 5.8% Asian, 40.7% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51.4% of the population.[15]

In the neighborhood the population was spread out with 9.8% under the age of 18, 54.7% from 18 to 34, 39.9% from 35 to 64, and 4.6% who were 65 years of age or older.[16]

The per capita income for the neighborhood was $14,210. About 41.8% of the population were below the poverty line.[17]

Government and infrastructure

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) protects the neighborhood with Station #3 in the Business District and Station #9 in Skid Row. Station #9 operates two engines, one truck, and two rescue ambulances. It currently is one of the busiest firehouses in the city.[18]

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Skid Row.[19]

Transportation

Metro Rapid 720 in Skid Row heading westbound

The community is served primarily by one LADOT[20] and 13 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus lines:[21]

The following MTA lines which serve the neighborhood:

Local lines

Line 16/316 - Downtown Los Angeles to Century City (via 5th and 6th Streets)

Line 18 - Koreatown to Montebello (via 5th and 6th Streets)

Line 20 - Downtown Los Angeles to Westwood (via 7th Street)

Line 51 - Compton to Wilshire/Vermont Station (via 7th and San Pedro Streets)

Line 52/352 - Artesia Transit Center to Wilshire/Vermont Station (via 7th and San Pedro Streets)

Line 53 - California State University, Dominguez Hills to Downtown Los Angeles (via 5th and 6th Streets)

Line 60 - Artesia Station to Downtown Los Angeles (via 7th Street)

Line 62 - Hawaiian Gardens to Downtown Los Angeles (via 5th and 6th Streets)

Rapid lines

Metro Rapid Line 720 - Commerce to Santa Monica (via 5th and 6th Streets)

Metro Rapid Line 760 - Artesia Station to Downtown Los Angeles (via 7th Street)

See also

References

  1. ^ Central City East: Los Angeles Almanac
  2. ^ Central City East: Los Angeles Almanac
  3. ^ Central City East Association: About CCEA
  4. ^ Central City East: Los Angeles Almanac
  5. ^ John Edwin Fuder, Training Students for Urban Ministry: An Experiential Approach. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock (2001).
  6. ^ "The Ninth Circuit" (PDF). The United States Court of Appeals. April 14, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. http://web.archive.org/web/20061209162537/http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/8138B5E4723C6FE988257150005B327E/$file/0455324.pdf?openelement. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  7. ^ L.A. Police Initiative Thins Out - washingtonpost.com
  8. ^ Moore, Solomon (October 31, 2007). "Some Respite, if Little Cheer, for Skid Row Homeless". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/us/31skidrow.html. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  9. ^ Svdpla.org
  10. ^ Hope Gardens Family Center
  11. ^ Fire Station 9 Skid Row
  12. ^ Fire Station 9 Skid Row
  13. ^ "Skid Row Visit Scheduled for William and Catherine". Third Age. http://www.thirdage.com/news/skid-row-visit-scheduled-for-harry-and-catherine_07-08-2011?page=1. Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Race Demographics: L.A. Almanac
  16. ^ Age and Sex Demographics: L.A. Almanac
  17. ^ Poverty by neighborhood: L.A. Almanac
  18. ^ http://lafd.blogspot.com/2007/08/busiest-fire-stations-in-los-angeles.html
  19. ^ "Central Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  20. ^ DASH: Central City East
  21. ^ Metro System Map

External links