Skid Row is a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, California. The area is officially known as Central City East. As of a 2019 count, the population of the district was 4,757. Skid Row contains one of the largest stable populations (about 4,200–8,000) of homeless people in the United States and has been known for its condensed homeless population since at least the 1930s. Its long history of police raids, targeted city initiatives, and homelessness advocacy make it one of the most special districts in Los Angeles. Covering fifty city blocks (2.71 sq mi) immediately east of downtown Los Angeles, Skid Row is bordered by Third Street to the north, Seventh Street to the south, Alameda Street to the east, and Main Street to the west.
Skid Row is home to many artists. Due to its location bordering districts such as the Historic Core and the Arts District, Skid Row often hosts events that cross neighborhood borders. In 2019, a performance group called the Los Angeles Poverty Department began providing artistic resources to Skid Row, primarily in the form of theater classes and performances. Los Angeles, CA Times journalist Margaret Gray claimed that audience members “somehow felt like part of a family” when the performers were on stage and noted that “while many charitable organizations focus on warehousing and policing homeless populations, LAPD attempts to remind them of their unique humanity, to empower them to take collective responsibility for their neighborhood and one another’s health and safety.” Since 2009 the organization has also sponsored the Festival for All Skid Row Artists. The “Skid Row City Limits Mural” was created solely by volunteers to express the community’s feelings about the history and modern state of the neighborhood. The “Dear Neighbor Mural” is another Skid Row art piece aimed at making housing a right for all citizens. In addition, Skid Row Karaoke is a long-time tradition of residents, which is weekly and open to all.
- Star Apartments, a residential housing complex, opened in October 2012, built specifically for the needs of the homeless.
- Indian Alley is the unofficial name given to a stretch of the alley, about the significance the area held for indigent American Indians from the 1970s to the 1990s. Indian Alley comprises a block of Werdin Place, running south from Winston Street to East 5th Street. It is bounded west by Main Street and east by Los Angeles Street.
- The Skid Row City Limits Mural is an 18-by-50-foot mural on San Julian Street, created in 2014. It features a map demarcating Skid Row’s officially recognized boundaries alongside an official-looking sign, replete with a city seal reading “Skid Row City Limit, Population: Too Many.” This is the initial mural project installation planned to eventually cover the whole wall on the San Julian block north of 6th Street. Installed in compliance with the city’s mural ordinance, the project was organized by Skid Row activist General Jeff Page with local street art crew Winston Death Squad and carried out with the labor of Skid Row citizens. Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar’s office has hailed the mural, saying, “It’s community pride, on the one hand, it’s cleverly done, and it creates conversation and debate, which often great public art does.” Bed Bug Exterminator LA King
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