Sunday, April 03, 2016

Skid Row, Los Angeles

I've heard a lot about this place. I still recall the scandal from a few years ago, when hospitals would drop of homeless patients at Skid Row.

On a recent visit to the University of Southern California - USC, I was  in the neighborhood. The USC campus is downtown, and only fifteen minutes from Skid Row.

After my presentation at USC was over, and I had a chance to explore the campus, I had a little time before my flight. I decided to take a trip downtown.

Los Angeles is a confusing city. I am not even sure I call it a city. It is more continuation of houses and buildings, many many miles long and wide. And somebody called this congregation of millions, a city.

I found it. Skid Row is the downtown section between Main Street and the Alameda. It is only a few blocks from the Los Angeles City Hall. Although you do need any street markers to know you have arrived. You will immediately recognize the encampments on the side walk.

Then it got just very sad.  Skid Row is not a single block. I originally thought is was a single strip of a block of two, where homeless people hangout. I imagined something similar to the Panhandle near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with perhaps 50 or 100 homeless people.

This is nothing like that. This is block after block. Street after street. Tents and tarps. People sitting on the curb. People wandering around. Pushing a cart. Wikipedia mentions there are somewhere between 3000 and 6000 homeless people living here.

I drove by the Midnight Mission. It was about 6pm and people were already in line, looking for a meal or a save place to sleep.

You can easily imagine how an apocalyptic future looks like as you drive around Skid Row. No need to create a movie set or hire extras. Here it was.

I didn't take any pictures. It didn't feel right to be a tourist. Just use Google Images and search for Skid Row Downtown LA, or better, check it out yourself.

It is ironic and mostly very sad that hell is located, right in the center of the city of Angels.

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