Skid Row, Los Angeles

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Skid Row
Neighborhoods of Los Angeles
Skid Row, Los Angeles 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
 • Total11.2 km2 (4.31 sq mi)
Population (2000)
 • Total17,740
 • Density1,587/km2 (4,111/sq mi)
ZIP Code90013
Area code(s)213
 
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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
Skid Row, Los Angeles 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
 • Total11.2 km2 (4.31 sq mi)
Population (2000)
 • Total17,740
 • Density1,587/km2 (4,111/sq mi)
ZIP Code90013
Area code(s)213

Skid Row is an area of Downtown Los Angeles. As of the 2000 census, the population of the district was 17,740. Skid Row was defined in a decision in Jones v. City of Los Angeles as the area east of Main Street, south of Third Street, west of Alameda Street, and north of Seventh Street.[1] Skid Row contains one of the largest stable populations, between 3,000 and 6,000, of homeless people in the United States.[2] The sidewalks are lined with cardboard boxes, tents, and shopping carts.

Skid Row, Los Angeles

History[edit]

1880s through 1960s[edit]

Skid Row; The West's Bowery

 Skid Row is the Bowery of the West. It is the poor man's underworld; a cross-section of American futility, the place where men who have lost hope go after they have jettisoned their dreams.
...
 Skid Row isn't a street. It's an area one-and-a-half-miles square in the downtown heart of a 450-square-mile city. Take the Bowery, West Madison street of Chicago, Twelfth street in Kansas City in the old days, Howard street in San Francisco. Wrap them all up together and turn on the neon lights — and you've got Skid Row.

Hal Boyle in the Evening Independent (June 14, 1947)[3]

At the end of the 19th century, a number of residential hotels opened in the area as it became home to a transient population of seasonal laborers.[4] By the 1930s Skid Row was home to a large population of homeless people, alcoholics, and other people on the margins of society. It supported saloons, residential hotels, and social services which drew people from the populations they served to congregate in the area.[5]

In June 1947, LAPD chief Clemence B. Horrall ordered what he called a "blockade raid" of the whole Skid Row area. Over 350 people were arrested. Assistant Chief Joseph Reed, who claimed that "at least 50 percent of all the crime in Los Angeles originates in the Skid Row area," stated that there had been no "strong arm robberies" on Skid Row as late as one week after the raid. Long time residents, however, were skeptical that the changes would last.[3]

In 1956, the city of Los Angeles was in the midst of a program to "rehabilitate" Skid Row[6] through the clearance of decaying buildings.[7] The program was presented to property owners in the area as an economy measure. Gilbert Morris, then Superintendent of Building, said that at that point the provision of free social services to the approximately one square mile of Skid Row cost the city over $5,000,000 per year as opposed to the city average of $110,000 per square mile annually.[6] The city used administrative hearings to compel the destruction of nuisance properties at the expense of the owner. By July 1960 the clearance program was said to be 87% complete in the Skid Row area.[7]

1970s through present[edit]

In the late 1980s, then Los Angeles City Attorney James K. Hahn refused to prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public unless the City was able to provide them with an alternative to the streets, claiming that to do so would be a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In September 2005, hospitals and law enforcement agencies were discovered to be "dumping" homeless people on Skid Row. Then Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered an investigation and William Bratton, LAPD chief at the time, claimed that the Department was not targeting homeless people specifically, but only people who violate city ordinances.[8] The Los Angeles City Attorney investigated more than 50 of about 150 reported cases of dumping.[9] By early 2007, the city attorney had filed charges against only one hospital, Kaiser Permanente. Because there were no laws specifically covering the hospital's actions they were charged, in an untested strategy, with false imprisonment. In response to the lack of legal recourse available to fight patient dumping, California state senator Gil Cedillo sponsored legislation against it in February 2007.[10]

2006 lawsuit[edit]

In 2003, Los Angeles's homeless population was growing 10% per year. The City of Los Angeles started enforcing an old "anti-camping" ordinance, under which the punishment for sleeping on public land is arrest and one night in jail. Police discarded blankets, cooking utensils, and tents to force homeless people to stay awake and to keep moving.

In April 2006, the ACLU sued the city of Los Angeles, on behalf of Robert Lee Purrie and five other homeless people, asserting that the city was in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and sections of the California Constitution guaranteeing 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." The court said that the anti-camping ordinance is "one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States."

The ACLU sought a compromise in which the LAPD would be barred from arresting homeless people or confiscating their possession on Skid Row between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. The compromise plan, which was accepted by the city of Los Angeles, permits sleeping on the sidewalk except "within 10 feet of any business or residential entrance" and only between these hours.[11] Downtown development business interests and the Central City Association (CCA) came out 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.[4] On September 20, 2006, Los Angeles City Council voted to reject the compromise.[12] On October 3, 2006, police arrested Skid Row's transients for sleeping on the streets for the first time in months.[13][14] On October 10 2006, under pressure from the ACLU, the city tacitly agreed to the compromise by declining to appeal the court's decision.[11]

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]

The per capita income for the neighborhood was $14,210. About 41.8% of the population were below the poverty line.[18]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) serves the neighborhood with Station #3 in the Business District and Station #9 in Skid Row. Station #9 operates one engine, one truck, two ALS rescue ambulances, and one BLS rescue ambulance . It currently is the busiest firehouse in Los Angeles.[19] Fire engines and ambulances serving the neighborhood have historically had "Skid Row" emblazoned on their sides.[20] 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.[20]

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Skid Row.[21]

Services for homeless people in Los Angeles are centralized in Skid Row.[22] Examples include the Volunteers of America, the 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, Fred Jordan Mission, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Cardinal Manning Center,[23] and Midnight Mission. In 2007, Union Rescue Mission opened Hope Gardens, a facility outside of Skid Row which is exclusively for women and children.[24]

Landmarks[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Metro Rapid 720 in Skid Row heading westbound

The community is served primarily by 13 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus lines:[27]

The following MTA lines which serve the neighborhood:

Local lines[edit]

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 - Harbor Gateway Transit Center to Wilshire/Vermont Station (via 7th St, San Pedro St and Avalon Blvd)

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[edit]

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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ John Edwin Fuder, Training Students for Urban Ministry: An Experiential Approach. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock (2001).
  3. ^ a b Hal Boyle (June 14, 1947). "Skid Row; The West's Bowery". Evening Independent. p. 10. 
  4. ^ a b "444 F.3d 1118". Bulk.resource.org. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  5. ^ Mark Wild (2 June 2008). Street Meeting: Multiethnic Neighborhoods in Early Twentieth-century Los Angeles. University of California Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-520-94176-2. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Walter H. Stern (June 28, 1956). "Wide Fight Urged on Decay in Cities". New York Times. p. 48. 
  7. ^ a b John Sibley (July 3, 1960). "Slum Landlords Under Cities' Fire". New York Times. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Joseph G. Cook; Linda A. Malone; Paul Marcus; Geraldine Szott Moohr (17 July 2012). Criminal Law. LexisNexis. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-57911-678-1. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Bruce S. Jansson (2011). Becoming an Effective Policy Advocate: From Policy Practice to Social Justice. Cengage Learning. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-495-81239-5. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Richard Winton; Andrew Blankenstein (February 22, 2007). "California bill would ban patient dumping". Herald-Journal. p. 4. 
  11. ^ a b Moore, Solomon (October 31, 2007). "Some Respite, if Little Cheer, for Skid Row Homeless". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Handing skid row to the drug dealers - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  13. ^ "LAPD Gentrifies Skid Row". Colorlines. 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ Race Demographics: L.A. Almanac
  17. ^ Age and Sex Demographics: L.A. Almanac
  18. ^ Poverty by neighborhood: L.A. Almanac
  19. ^ "LAFD News & Information: The Busiest Fire Stations in Los Angeles". Lafd.blogspot.com. 2007-08-04. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  20. ^ a b Fire Station 9 Skid Row
  21. ^ "Central Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  22. ^ Juanita K. Hunter (1993). Nursing and Health Care for the Homeless. SUNY Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-4384-0731-9. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Svdpla.org
  24. ^ Hope Gardens Family Center
  25. ^ James Bacon (January 12, 1953). "New Catholic Cardinal Once Was Messenger". The News and Courier. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ Aline Mosby (October 13, 1952). "Crying Singer Would Credit Faith For Climb Up Ladder". The Times-News. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  27. ^ Metro System Map

External links[edit]