As the world struggles to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, a new battle front is percolating in the heart of homeless capital of the world, Skid Row. Access to protective gear, food and other vital services is dangerously lacking in the community long plagued by systematic injustice, mental health and housing injustice.
City and County responses are underway as the need for rapid deployment of resources has become clearer.
Community-based organization are also stepping up to the plate. Known as “United for Skid Row”, an initiative to raise $20,000 for protective gear and food has been initiated by community and business leaders from across multiple sectors and regions. A Go Fund Me Page and a Benefit Comedy Show, Live Auction and Concert taking place this Saturday night on Zoom and FB Live will take place to raise funds for the initiative.
The idea originated by Don Garza, a long-time Skid Row Activist, after observing the lack of protective gear, inability to social distance and the health risks affecting most people in the area as putting his neighbors at imminent risk.
“For me, it was stepping in and bringing the larger community into supporting and Uniting for Skid Row. I noticed that that the typical support through food drives, and regular donations coming to the area were suddenly gone. I noticed the need and contacted my close friends like Joseph Chicas to start to mobilize our resources and bring them to Skid Row Community.
Lead organizations including Breaking Through Barriers to Success, the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles and the United Latino Fund are leading the campaign as part of their larger Covid-19 rapid responses.
For Daniel Mejia, Executive Director of Breaking Through Barriers to Success, who is on the front lines of community Covid-19 food and masks drives, the need for a specific Covid-19 response to Skid Row could not be clearer. “Right now, Skid Row needs our full support. Social distancing and staying home is a privilege they can’t afford. We need to distribute protective gear, food and other supplies immediately. United for Skid Row is doing that.
To support the United for Skid Row visit, www.unitedforskidrow.com
For more information contact Daniel Mejia, Executive Director of Breaking Through Barriers to Success at 213-840-7974 or 213-378-4937.