SKIDROW 3on3 STREETBALL LEAGUE plays @ the URM with Dream Center peeps!

Streetball at the Union Rescue Mission gym today

Today the Skidrow 3on3 Streetball Leauge hosted a special event at the Union Rescue Mission gym.

These photos are my attempt to capture the spirit of the game. Unfortunately, I am a horrible photographer with absolutely no idea how to make the most out of a camera. I do try my best to convey stories from Skid Row that are not often seen or heard for “outsiders”, so bear with me please. These players were moving quickly- how do you prevent a blur? In any case, poor photo quality and my complete lack of understanding of all things sports related aside- what mattered today at this event was Community, partnerships, togetherness and positivity.

Athleticism was on display today!

The main reason for me writing this post today, because I am usually strictly concerned only with events going on in the public space in Skid Row, was the connection to members of the Dream Center. A recent post I had written about the Dream Center had left a bad taste in my mouth. I have continued to try to contact them, but still not heard back.

Today, my impression of Dream Center volunteers in Skid Row has improved. Two gentlemen from this organization got in the game today and put in a terrific effort. One of the volunteers (in the tie-dye) I had seen on San Julian St. last weekend- so I know he is dedicated to the neighborhood. The other one with the black baseball hat was the one who said he wanted to play.

Dream Center volunteers after a Streetball game

THIS is what we Community members like from outside volunteers! Coming here simply to pass out food in the streets is thoughtful, sure…but there are thousands of people who live here who would be better served by healthy activities- like sports! Music and other artistic endeavors that can be expressed in our streets is something that we need more of around here. Have some ideas about healthy activities you might want to bring to Skid Row? I can put you in contact with the right people to help with this. “Letting off a little steam” can do wonders for one’s health! Time to “think outside the box” about how you might spend your time volunteering in Skid Row. Be creative!

Screen grab from the Dream Center website

Above is a screen grab from the Dream Center’s page about Community Outreach in Skid Row. Again, I don’t want to go too hard on them (even though they could help out with some street sweeping once in a while) because they do come here to serve, BUT- the higher-ups need to update their information about my neighborhood on their website, because some of it no longer applies or is outdated. Below is from the Dream Center website:

“…Skid Row where 60 percent of the population lives on the street and entire families must share one room in a vermin infested welfare hotel with filthy community bathrooms.”

Yo, Dream Center- 60 % of the population of Skid Row does NOT currently live on the streets here. Approximately 1,200 people currently live on our streets as per the LAPD last count in August of this year. About 6,500 people are currently living housed/sheltered (this includes the Missions) in Skid Row.

Also, Dream Center- entire families do NOT currently live anywhere is Skid Row proper right now. The only children here are staying at the Union Rescue Mission, which is temporary shelter only.

About the vermin. Yeah, I hear that- we still have rats, but we are working on that. And, about community bathrooms- well, I myself stayed at an SRO downtown in the Arts district with a community bathroom and lived to tell about it- it’s not really that bad- its sorta like camping, or a dorm, but if the Dream Center finds this so offensive, why not make the necessary connections to gain access INSIDE some of the local Skid Row SROs (there are over 40 hotels here) and see if you might be of service to them in the interiors of their buildings. In fact, I had a great idea recently, that deserves further exploration.  Why not, instead of serving food on the streets, like you do now- offer to serve healthy and nutritious food INSIDE one of these many SRO buildings’ community kitchens? With recent estimates of at least 22% of Skid Row population being physically disabled, (LAHSA 2011 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count) it is probably uncomfortable for many housed residents to leave their rooms to go very far for food. Just ideas.

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