by Ina Jaffe - Los Angeles is sometimes called the homeless capital of the nation. More than 40,000 people in this city have no permanent place to live. The highest concentration of homeless is on Skid Row. In less than 1 square mile, on the edge of downtown L.A., you can see hundreds of people sleeping on the sidewalks.
Unlike other depressed neighborhoods around the country, Skid Row is not a faded remnant of a neighborhood fallen on hard times. It's long been a destination for low-wage, transient workers coming off the nearby railroad tracks to work in the city's factories and warehouses. They were mostly men staying in cheap hotels with tiny rooms and a shared bath.
You can still get a glimpse of that history from a sign on the roof of the Rosslyn Hotel. Like many hotels back then, the Rosslyn sign faces away from downtown and toward the railroad tracks. All a newcomer had to do was get off the train and look up, to see where a room could be found.
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