Did you know? A Brief History of Skid Row
This history of Skid Row is long and complex. The common presumption about Skid Row is that it is one long street. However, walk through it and you know it is anything but. The word Skid Row is derived from the concept of loggers transporting logs. In these areas seasonal workers would live temporarily and therefore many brothels and bars popped up. As you travel through Skid Row now, you may notice some of these "hotels".
A big shift happened in 1970. Many of these hotels were torn down and in 1975 there was call to revitalize the community in an effort to address the social, medical and economical challenges faced in Skid Row. Thus leading to what we currently see, which is SRO housing (Single Room Occupancy), homeless shelters, homeless assistance programs, transitional housing, and various non-profits.
Now, Skid Row has the largest concentration of homeless individuals in Los Angeles. There are between 8-11 thousand people in the Skid Row area. There are approximately 2,000-5,000 non-housed people. The numbers are hard to pin down exactly due to the transient nature of the homeless. Even more upsetting is that 89% of the homeless do not have contact with their family.
So What? How Can We As Christians Help?
What happens to a person when relationship is taken away from someone? Think about the current shelters in place right now? Are they there to create supportive familial relationships? They are doing the best they can, no doubt. But in a family you have more support. Jesus Christ offers the perfect example of how to be in a relationship. He gets up and close to people who others are scared to be around. He absorbs the community that he is in. He doesn't presume to know what a community needs or wants. He listens and he acknowledges. It's all about the relationship and not the hand-out.