Skid Row

Topics: Poverty, Homelessness, Deinstitutionalisation Pages: 3 (813 words) Published: April 1, 2008
Homelessness in Skid Row
“It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream and struggle.” -Shane Clairborne
Los Angeles, the city of angels, is known worldwide for its glamour and riches. With its gleaming skyscrapers and palm-tree lined streets, people flock to this famous city in search of wealth and fame. What most people don’t know, however, is that less than two blocks away from one of the richest areas in the world lies the homeless capitol of the United States, Skid Row.

Over 254,000 homeless people are estimated to be living in Los Angeles each year. Included in this outstanding number are men, women, and children that have no other choice but to live there lives on the streets in poverty. These are not streets lined with palm-trees, but rather drugs, prostitution, murder, rape, starvation and brokenness.

Every night, more than 80,000 people rest their heads against the sidewalk. This might seem impossible being directly next to one of the richest areas in the world, but every single night the homeless are being cast away as if they are not even human beings, left to rot on the streets.

So who does make up the 254,000 homeless people? Stereotypically, the first thing that pops into most people’s heads in an African American male. Almost automatically, we seem to convince ourselves that this person must either be crazy, on drugs, or just to lazy to get a job and make a living like the rest of the world. We assume that the floppy piece of cardboard with the words “HELP” clearly etched into it are only asking for drug money so that this person could get his next fix.

An astounding eighty percent of the homeless population is in fact addicted to either drugs or alcohol. One reporter once said, “ The drug scene on skid row is what Starbucks is to the rest of us.” It’s part of everyday life. Crack- Cocaine is known as the drug of choice,...
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