Mark Horvath and Robert Egger on Skid Row

I haven't been gone very long, but it feels like a lifetime...Being honest, when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1987, I was scared to go downtown. I avoided the area until I ended up homeless and had to access services. Now, I walk around Skid Row with only one worry – I hope I never get used to seeing the pain and suffering.

When I started Invisible People I figured you all knew about homelessness on Skid Row so I focused on cities such as Sacramento, Anchorage, and other locations showing that homelessness is everywhere and effects us all!

Then I was invited to see the feature movie “LOST ANGELS – skid row is my home” and I was blown away! The stories of the people changed me. All I could think about after the movie is Skid Row, and since right now there are no funds to travel, the best use of my free time would be using whatever influence Invisible People has by putting a spotlight on homelessness in Skid Row and the wonderful people who are giving their all to help others.

If you’ve followed me for some time you’ll know Robert Egger is tops on my hero list. Robert founded DC Central Kitchen, which is also tops on my list of unique services having genuine impact helping people. Well (drumroll please…..) Robert has relocated to Los Angeles and is fast at work getting the LA Kitchen up and running. This will be HUGE so please support Robert as he tries to make history on the Best Coast

A few days ago Robert contacted me wanting to do something about the TB outbreak being reported on Skid Row. We figured we’d shoot a quick video, but while walking around Skid Row and speaking to people and service providers, we heard the other side to the story. Tuberculosis as reported by media as an “outbreak’ was mostly hype. Skid Row is experiencing the same amount of cases as 5 months ago and 5 years ago. One service provider explained tuberculosis comes from the outside into Skid Row. He said people in prison get tuberculosis and then come to Skid Row when released because they don’t have anywhere else to go. Another example are people who are dumped on Skid Row from hospitals with tuberculosis.

Skid Row is not all homelessness and most certainly not all bad. Skid Row is home to working-poor, seniors with low income, and a whole range of wonderful people that make up a vibrant and colorful community. For the next little while I am going to focus on stories from Skid Row. Invisible People is about homelessness, but on this blog I will do my best to share the other side of Skid Row.

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    Robert Egger is also Founder/President of CForward (www.cforward.org) and is the vehicle for systemic change. We need new leaders who see the need of community and the work of nonprofits as ASSETS, not extra. Leaving out political involvement and a new approach to electing leaders leaves out an important role of nonprofits to our communities.