LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - It’s known as 'The Box'. Skid Row City Limits...a place just blocks from City Hall where more than 17,000 homeless people live on the streets in a square-shaped area just east of Main Street, south of third, west of Alameda and north of Seventh Street.
A place where addicts openly use drugs and people with mental illness roam the streets.
LAPD Sgt. Joshua Ordonez walks this beat every week. He’s part of LAPD’S RESET program— Resources Enhancement Services Enforcement Team.
Their goal…on a daily basis, there are about 14 LAPD officers assigned to the RESET program. They hit Skid Row asking people if they need help getting off the street.
18-year old Shantell Norris and her son Jaden, now, have their own apartment thanks to programs like RESET.
Captain Ordonez would love to see more people like Shantell take advantage of the help they’re being offered.
But despite the repeated offer of help, many people in skid row, reject it.
He goes by “White Boy”. He is from Alabama enjoys living in Skid Row and loves skateboarding. White Boy says he doesn’t need any help but he does appreciate LAPD’s efforts.
“First of all, that’s a miracle…for the police officers to even care about us that’s a miracle.”
Crime suppression is another goal of the RESET program. When officers are present - there is less crime. When they’re not around…they say gang members, who’ve invaded Skid Row, prey on the most vulnerable.
Despite the dangers of Skid Row, having no private place to call your own, people like Valerie say they prefer to live like this.
“I’d rather to spend time washing my own clothes in a bucket because everybody on the other side of the world says we don’t deserve this because we’re this kind of people.”
Mike Arnold, CEO of Midnight Mission says solving the homeless problem is extremely difficult. He says people who are chronically homeless are in dire need of psychological help that they simply don’t want.
“It’s a conversation going on across the Southland where homeless rates have skyrocketed”
- LA County: Up 23 percent
- Orange County: Up 7 percent
- Riverside County: Up 11 percent