Why I worked on Skid Row

Why do I work here?

Unlike some of you who have glamorous jobs and get to travel the globe, I drive the 15 miles from a lovely suburb into Los Angeles. I pass neighborhoods, schools, a hospital, freeways, industrial areas, warehouses and then cross the First Street Bridge. I turn left at the Fish restaurant into the warehouse district filled with cold storage units and toy shops and notice that the vehicle traffic has slowed down. Soon there are more people in the streets than cars and the sidewalks are landscaped with tents, boxes and morning dreamers. My little car gets parked next to broken glass and a tent full of people; some of whim are already hitting the pipe. As I open my door the stench of urine and burnt trash sticks in my nose and I have to pick my way across the pot holes in the street to an opening between parked cars (2 of them had the Orange Boot on them this morning) up to the tilting and broken sidewalk and finally into the door of the building where I work. This morning as I stepped in the door a cockroach was near my feet. Wearing open toed sandals, I was a little alarmed and noticed the bug was the same size as my big toe. I tossed the remaining drops of water from the cup i was drinking from at the bug . . and it charged me. I sweat it bowed it’s tiny head and scampered purposefully in my direction, which made me jump and shriek a pip of fear as I started to scoot back/ About this time I realized I was running away from a bug… a BUG! I regained my composure and left the roach to it’s approach and I walked across the building to my office. Sitting in a chair by my door was a man with a months old baby boy. As I took the baby and talked to him so the father could go to money management, it occurred to me:

I only have to work in a broken down part of town with giant roaches and foul smells. If the problem is not solved – the problem of poverty, homelessness and a need for Skid Rows, this drooling bright eyes baby boy would continue to be one of thousands who will grow up here and accept this as normal. He will expect his world to smell like a toilet and he will expect to be invisible.

No one deserves a life like that, and that is why I come to work every day. Monday though, I am bringing Boric Acid for the roach!

Published by Homeless

Mommy. Social worker. Nice lady seeking to end homelessness and end poverty. FightOn

2 thoughts on “Why I worked on Skid Row

  1. As I read through your material, I came to appreciate your understanding of what really happens on Skid Row. I live in Bakersfield and over 13 years developed a Representative Payee Organization that now ministers to over 1,700 individuals. We are faith based. This program has been effective as we have worked hard at enticing individuals off the streets and into housing. Hardcore homeless can be helped when they are treated with dignity. My question is, “Do you know of a Representative Payee Organization on Skid Row?” Who would be a good person to contact? Could I meet you there and have you show me around? Blessings, John

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