Yesterday the Central City East Association began efforts to clean up an area of Los Angeles known as Skid Row, an area known for its large homeless population. They asked the homeless men and women to pick up their belongings and temporarily move while they hit the streets with brooms, pressure washers, vacuums, street cleaning trucks, and bulldozers.
There seem to be several possible motivators for this effort but a large majority seem to believe that this all stems from the introduction of luxury lofts to the area. The city of Los Angeles, itself, has recently set aside $100 million to reduce the concentration of homeless there by creating new shelters throughout the county.
Personally, all motivating factors aside, I think it will probably do our city well to clean up Skid Row and spread the homeless services through out the county. Having them centrally located in one place, while attractive for some reasons, seems to only create a small civilization in the streets where drug use and prostitution run rampant. Additionally, larger concentrations of homeless people are harder to help, and harder to police so hopefully these plans will greatly benefit them and their plight.
What really bothered me about all of this was the news report I saw last night on network television where the investigative reporter blatantly said that a large portion of the homeless on Skid Row choose to live on the streets instead of taking advantage of the hundreds of beds that go empty in the area shelters. While this may be true, she made it sound as though these “disgusting” people would rather live on the streets than help themselves and get into shelters. The truth is that many of these people are incapable of helping themselves due to mental and physical illnesses. We as caring humans should not condemn them for this; we should reach out our hands to help.