Street Photographer Captures the Humanity of Skid Row

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This is the second mini-documentary of our Invisible Stories series on homelessness. CLICK HERE to watch.

Skid Row may be the most notorious slum area in the United States. Often described as third world poverty in our first world country, Skid Row is the epicenter of the homeless crisis in America.

Skid Row is a 50-square block area of downtown Los Angeles with 9,000 people living in various states of homelessness. Images of addiction, mental illness, crime, gangs, and streets lined with tents are how most people know Skid Row. However, Skid Row is also a vibrant community with beautiful people doing the best they can to survive.

While many have tried, few photographers have managed to capture the heartbreak within this vulnerable community. Fewer still have managed to capture the heart. Yet the humble homeless advocate and anonymous street photographer known only as Suitcase Joe has managed to do both.

Unlike other photographers, Suitcase Joe likes to spend real quality time with the people he photographs. Suitcase Joe has become part of the Skid Row community itself, and it shows in the candid black and white images he shares with us on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/suitcase_joe/

Update on Scrappy: Her health is declining, and she’s not hanging out as much. She’s rejected going into hospice care. Scrappy wants to spend out her days surrounded by her community and where she feels at home and loved.

Invisible Stories is a mini-doc series that goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages understand, and can’t ignore.

Watch episode one: Homeless Man Produces Podcast with his Cellphone in Los Angeles


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We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Until then, we strive to be the most trusted source for homelessness news, education and advocacy.

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