LA Local: Skid Row Gets a Makeover

homelessAt the beginning of May the Los Angeles City Council authorized a $3.7-million Skid Row cleanup plan that will make living conditions for residents of Skid Row a lot better.

The plan includes 24-hour bathroom access, expanded storage in the form of a 90-day storage facility (for the homeless east of Alameda Street), along with a court injunction that prevents the destruction of homeless property kept in the streets, as well as a shopping cart-type of valet service, which will afford homeless people the option to check their shopping carts in.

The plan was created in response to public health violations that came about during the city’s extended battle against a court order that prevented the seizing of the homeless’ property and possessions. Health inspectors for the county discovered that rat infestations, syringes and other forms of garbage had been accumulating in the street for the past few years. The great garbage debate was complicated due to the various sides arguing the issue. The city argued that it was impossible to completely get rid of all of the squalor on Skid Row due to the tents, blankets and other personal effects that were on the sidewalk, while Skid Row activists pointed out that a major portion of the cleanup money went towards salaries of city employees and social service organizations.

Another issue that Skid Row residents face in terms of garbage is the fact that the trash has to be picked up by hand due to the fact that the automated garbage cans have been continually vandalized in the past. In addition, an extra $5 million in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s suggested budget is set aside to implement a similar practice in places like Venice and South Los Angeles, likewise occupied by an extensive number of homeless camps.

Currently, around 3,500 homeless people reside in Skid Row, and approximately 1,000 people sleep on the sidewalks, according to a report by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.

For all you native Angelenos and residents of Downtown Los Angeles, do you support the idea of a cleaned-up Skid Row?

Or do you think city funds could be put to use in another way?

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