Help on Skid Row not always welcome

Los Angeles police officials have been patrolling the streets of Downtown Los Angeles more heavily lately in an effort to deter outreach groups from giving donations to people living on Skid Row, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Skid Row, often referred to at the nation’s homeless capital, attracts many groups who look to aid the homeless population by providing food and clothing. However, some residents and business owners, in addition to city officials are growing increasingly concerned about community safety.

“These [groups] don’t know what happens when they leave,” Deon Joseph, Los Angeles Police Department senior lead officer and liaison to the community, told the L.A. Times. “We’ve had people get stabbed after fighting over clothes. We’ve had people get sick after eating their food. It’s just dangerous and irresponsible.”

This summer, several outreach groups received citations for not possessing a permit for distributing goods on the streets after Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry asked the Los Angeles County Department of Public Heath to enforce food saftey regulations more strictly.

Yet some activitsts find these regulations unreasonable for the homeless community.

“It would be literally impossible to meet all their requirements,” activist Michael Hubman told the L.A. Times.

As the community continues to change, three missions in Downtown Los Angeles — Union Rescue Mission, Los Angeles Mission and Midnight Mission — have offered outreach groups their facilities to distribute food and clothing to the community.