Venice Beach has been getting a lot of cross-press with Skid Row recently with a homeless encampment that has sprung up along 3rd and Rose Streets. I have been following this story in the press, click here for some info in this. In recent weeks, dozens of homeless people have been sleeping in this area after the city began enforcing an overnight curfew on the Venice Boardwalk.
This area is now being called, “Skid Row West”, or “Skid Rose”, (because of the Rose Street location). Unfortunately, the City of Los Angeles has yet to find real solutions or build enough housing for the homeless population of this fine City, so people continue to be just pushed around from one place to the next. Some say the people on the streets are merely “housing resistant”, others acknowledge that the majority on the streets now are either mentally ill or serious substance abusers or both (which is my opinion). Whichever the case may be- Los Angeles has no real solutions for the thousands of people on her streets nightly- unlike other large metropolises across America which have made great strides in getting vulnerable people off the streets. Click here to read a great article by Steve Clare who is executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit housing and community development organization serving the Westside of Los Angeles about real workable solutions for the homeless of LA.
In reading about this situation in Venice here, I couldn’t help but notice a glaring disparity in the way the City is cleaning up around the encampments over there on the Westside- as opposed to over here in the real Skid Row. According to the LA Weekly article linked to above called, Venice’s Own ‘Skid Rose’ Homeless Camp at 3rd Slowly Being Flushed by City Officials, by Simone Wilson Thus., May 3 2012,
…The team included LAPD cops on horses, bio-hazard guys from the Department of Public Works and representatives from L.A. City Hall — including Public Works commissioner Andrea Alarcon, royal offspring of City Councilman Richard Alarcon. Also present was the mayor’s Westside deputy, Joseph Hari.
…Rosendahl confirms: “Further clean-ups will happen, and on a regular basis.”
Where are the bio-hazard guys for the REAL Skid Row? We have a serious, entrenched and consistent need for out streets to be power-washed of human waste in the form of urine, feces and vomit that NEVER get cleaned. I will be looking into getting over here whatever they get over there- we are ALL City of LA. I have never heard of the LA Department of Public Works doing any clean-up for Skid Row.
Great strides have been made recently with Operation Face-Lift/Skid Row 2012, which began in 2008 by actual community residents of Skid Row (watch video here), click here for more information about the 2012 re-energized movement. We have gotten the attention of the City, so that now Street Services- click here for the update- and the Bureau of Sanitation, click here for the 411 on this- have gotten on board with help for our garbage laden streets. But the need is still great, as is our lack of trash receptacles. I’m not sure what is going on over in Venice- but to be clear- Operation Face-Lift is interested primarily in connecting with the people on the streets and getting their involvement and participation in the community-at-large- NOT pushing them away to some other place out of sight, out of mind.
Curious about what all the fuss is over on the Westside- I took a drive over to “Skid Rose” on Friday at about 6pm. What I saw was…not much at all. A few, maybe 3 or 4 bags of what looked like people’s personal belongings, one loveseat, one tent and a couple of gentlemen with shopping carts. I saw no garbage on the streets, no piles of trash anywhere. Frankly, I am confused and slightly angry at all the attention given to this so-called encampment when the needs in our downtown streets far outweigh anything over in Venice- at least from what I personally witnessed on this day. Maybe someone can explain the difference in services that the Westside gets as compared to my neighborhood, the REAL Skid Row.