Tuesday, October 22, 2013
You Thought Your Life Was Hard? Think Again...
Life is tough on Skid Row, the downtown part of Los Angeles that is home to thousands of homeless people who have hit rock bottom.
From short-term workers and migrants feeling the hardships of the Great Depression, to servicemen shipping out during the Second World War and Vietnam, Skid Row has always had a transient nature.
Its most recent inhabitants have been those who find they have nowhere else to turn as drug addicts and alcoholics come to its streets to try to fight their demons.
Rock bottom: Recovering alcoholic George Mendez, center, sits in front of a drunk woman in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles
Help: A recovering addict walks by a sign of positive messages at a narcotics anonymous meeting
Surviving: Antonio Garcia, a 54-year-old former mathematician, peeks through the top of a box he shelters in
Reach out: Young volunteers from the Dream Center church mission look at homeless people from the windows of their bus
Their everyday battle has been captured in a series of photographs by Jae C Hong.
On Skid Row addicts are offered a place to sleep, food, counseling and even spiritual support. With this backup some are able to turn their lives around, but plenty don't.
It's common to see addicts openly taking drugs on the streets, even while police are patrolling the area.
While temptation may lurk on every corner, so do helping hands with charities and church missions offering shelter and food to those in need.
Tent city: Torrance Moore, 46, pulls cardboard that he will use as bedding into his tent on a Skid Row sidewalk
Food line: A line forms outside a charity organization that hands out free hotdogs
Salvage: A homeless woman searches through trash for anything that she may be able to use
Steps to recovery: Former addict Trina Bohannan sings outside a karaoke club where she now works as an usher after finding a low income apartment to live in
Homeless: Late afternoon sunlight shines on a man as he sleeps in the middle of a Los Angeles sidewalk
No room: Sonya Martinez, 38, has been homeless on and off for the past ten years. In January 1,020 homeless people were counted on Skid Row streets, and 2,443 were in emergency shelters
Faith: Residents at the Emmanuel Baptist Rescue Mission attend a Bible study class, which is required for anyone wanting to stay at the shelter
Mission: The shadow of a woman is cast across a Jesus Loves You sign in Skid Row
Stories: A homeless woman leans on a gate for support as she talks to a man in Los Angeles
Addiction: Outside a church in Skid Row an addict prepares to inject himself with heroin
Street life: A barefoot homeless woman sings and dances on a Skid Row street
On the move: A woman pulls a suitcase along in what has always been a transient Los Angeles neighborhood
Moment of calm: Birds gather to eat bread crumbs on a deserted street
Messages: Graffiti calling for help from Jesus is scrawled alongside a heart
Lost hope: Shawn McGray, a 34-year-old trying to save enough money to move into a small apartment with his girlfriend, searches through a dumpster
Change: Cesar Solozano, a 60-year-old recovering drink and drug addict, laughs as he crosses a street
Despair: Jesse Raca, a 58-year-old homeless alcoholic rests against the shutters of a store
Prayer: Pastor Tony Stallworth, center, who used to be a homeless drug addict, leads a moment of reflection at a karaoke night
Sleeping rough: Margaret Warrick, 55, settles on a bench for the night outside Skid Row's Midnight Mission
Rest: Homeless people sleep near their belongings in the courtyard of the Midnight Mission - a safer alternative than sleeping on the street
Icon: A homeless man covers his face with a torn piece of paper showing a deity
Deserted: Wearing a Barbie backpack and pushing a trolley filled with her possessions, a woman makes her way along the street
Light relief: 60-year-old Tricia Warren, homeless for three weeks because of financial problems, sings at a karaoke night put on for the homeless
End of the road: The Skid Row section of Los Angeles, where homeless addicts struggle to survive
Ray of light: Pastor Emmanuel Okoli gives a sermon to those finding shelter at the Outreach Mission
Shadows: Many of the inhabitants of Skid Row have found themselves homeless because of financial trouble or addiction
Lifetime of struggles: Antoinette Theus, 45, has been homeless for 30 years
Originally posted on: Daily Mail