How to House 7000 People In Skid Row.
Exhibition created by Rosten Woo with Anna Kobara, Henriëtte Brouwers, John Malpede.

Opening Reception March 7, 2020

The museum is closed because of the COVID_19 pandemic. We can accommodate two visitors at a time, or a group of family members to visit the exhibition in person. You can make an appointment by writing us at [email protected]
Stay well, safe and sane!

Download the Zine of the exhibition here.
2019 | A Blade of Grass | Getting Creative About Affordable Housing in Skid Row

A coalition of Skid Row community members and groups have created “Skid Row Now & 2040” a plan that identifies funding sources to house people who have extremely low incomes. The plan presents a vision for the Skid Row community and additional ideas for funding housing that will get people off the streets and into housing.
Download the Skid Row Now & 2040 Vision Paper here.
DTLA2040 Community Plan Draft

Watch public comments community members and stake holders made at the Virtual Public Hearing for DTLA 2040 drafts on December 8, 2020 here.

About the Project

How to house 7,000 people in Skid Row?
We’re talking about housing everyone now living on the streets of Skid Row –and more.  

Tired of promises and no solutions to L.A.’s housing crisis? At the exhibition, learn together and in public how housing works and could work in L.A.

A coalition of Skid Row community members and groups have created “Skid Row Now & 2040” a plan that identifies funding sources to house people who have extremely low incomes.  The exhibition created by Woo, Kobara, Brouwers & Malpede makes the solutions in the plan graphically legible.

You will be able to understand how each funding mechanism works and how many dollars could be raised and therefore how many people could be housed by the City’s adoption of these income-generating tools.  They include dollars for housing that could be generated from: inclusionary zoning, a vacancy tax, and the creation of a tax-increment financing district.  Worry not— all these concepts will be graphically and simply explained by the exhibition.  What you get to do is choose your mechanisms and determine their geographical boundaries.  When your stack of dollars from each of your sources reaches $3.5 Billion, Congratulations!  You have a viable plan for housing 7,000 People in Skid Row.  Next: the hard work of getting City Council to enact it.

At the March 7th opening, The Los Angeles Poverty Department will present a 25-minute introduction to the exhibition —-a dystopic, performative warning: one that imagines a new Amazon headquarters in Skid Row.

During the development phase of the project, “How to House 7,000 People on Skid Row,” presented two public conversations with housing policy experts and community organizers.  Additional public events will take place during the run of the exhibition.  At the next event, on Wednesday March 18, from 4-8pm, members of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project will continue to collect stories associated with particular places on Skid Row— a continuation of the work they began in October at the Festival for All Skid Row Artists.

Artist Bio's

Rosten Woo is an artist, designer, and writer living in Los Angeles. His projects aim to help people understand complex systems, re-orient themselves to places, and participate in group decision-making. He acts as a collaborator and consultant to a variety of grassroots organizations including Little Tokyo Service Center, the Black Workers Center, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, as well as the city of Los Angeles, and the California State Parks. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and various piers, public housing developments, shopping malls, and parks. He is co-founder and former executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), winner of the 2016 National Design Award for institutional achievement. His book “Street Value” about race and retail urban development was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2009.

By day, Anna Kobara works in non-profit affordable housing development and finance. By night, she works with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) on data visualization and mapping projects. Her work aims to support community organizations heading housing justice campaigns such as rent control, tenant rights, anti-displacement, anti-dispossession, and anti-gentrification. Her recent work includes supporting Tenants Together with their Rent Control for All campaign by creating an online, interactive database of rent control and renter protection policies throughout California.

John Malpede directs, performs, and engineers multi-event projects that have theatrical, installation, public art, and education components. In 1985, he founded Los Angeles Poverty Development (LAPD), a performance group comprised primarily of homeless and formerly homeless people who make art, live, and work on Skid Row. He has produced projects working with communities throughout the US, as well as in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Bolivia. His 2004 work RFK in EKY sought to recreate Robert Kennedy’s 1968 “war on poverty” tour in the course of a four-day, 200-mile series of events focused on historic and current issues and social policy. As a 2008-2009 fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Malpede developed Bright Futures in response to the worldwide financial crisis. In 2013, John Malpede received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In 2014, the Queens Museum of Art in New York City mounted the first retrospective gallery exhibition on the work of the LAPD, which traveled to the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena in 2016.  “How to House 7,000 People in Skid Row” is the continuation of Woo and LAPD’s 2017 project “The Back 9”.

Henriëtte Brouwers is the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department. Since 2000 she co-directs, produces and performs in many LAPD performances and she worked with John Malpede on the creation of RFK in EKY (2004) a community-based re-enactment of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 trip to investigate poverty in Appalachia. Born in the Netherlands, Brouwers performs, directs and has taught throughout the US, the Netherlands and France. She was a member of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed group and studied corporeal mime with Etiènne Décroux in Paris, France.  In Amsterdam she founded movement theater ACTA and performed with Shusaku & Dormu Dance Theatre, Grif Theater, Nationaal Fonds, a.o. The Theatre Project in Baltimore, Highways in Santa Monica and UT Knoxville, TN presented her work in America. Henriëtte performed with Touchstone Theatre, PA and 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta and was the movement director for Blue Monk by Robert Earl Price, for the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival. She devised a series of performances based on the Mexican legend of La Malinche and La Llorona: The Weeping Woman.  Brouwers is featured in Bill Viola’s renowned ‘The Passions’ series.

Skid Row Now & 2040 Vison Paper Talking Points

  1. Thanks to the Department of City Planning for creating a special zone where only affordable housing with extremely low and deeply low-income levels, can be build:the Ix1 zone. But the zone doesn’t cover all of Skid Row, it squeezes affordable housing into the blocks East of San Pedro: between Alameda and 5th and 7th street. Skid Row residents want the expansion of the I X 1 zone to the existing, legal Skid Row neighborhood boundaries: from Main to Alameda, and from 3rd to 7th street.
  2. We want the “Preservation and maintenance of existing housing stock at the foundation of the community’s affordable housing supply,” applied to the existing Skid Row neighborhood boundaries to avoid displacement of current residents (3rd to 7th, Main to Alameda).
  3. The draft’s focus on “Accessible, healthy, and safe housing opportunities affordable to low-income households” should include extremely low and deeply low-income households.
  4. We want the plan’s commitment to “Facilitate the integration of locally produced and community oriented public art projects and cultural programming into public spaces to reinforce community character” to include consistent maintenance and additional amenities like hygiene stations, cooling stations, trees, shade structures and seating to occur at the Skid Row parks including San Julian Park and Gladys Park, and we want the creation of new Skid Row parks where possible. We also want this street safety and comfort investment on primary corridors in Skid Row (San Pedro, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th streets).
  5. Poor communities/ communities of color bear the brunt of climate change and so special attention must be paid to the vulnerabilities of folks in Skid Row and the Urban Heat Island effect. It is crucial to “Identify areas and buildings as resiliency centers for public use during future climate events and other emergencies,” but these resiliency centers need to be available 24/7 in Skid Row where residents are often living in a stage of emergency.
  6. The draft’s intention to “Foster opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment” is best achieved in Skid Row by offering Skid Row residents work opportunities in their neighborhood related to parks, hygiene stations, resiliency centers, art projects, cultural programming and other facility and engagement work identified in this plan.
  7. We stress the importance of the draft’s claim to “Facilitate access to affordable, healthy, and fresh food for all Downtown residents and support community serving small businesses that sell affordable, fresh, and culturally relevant foods” for Skid Row residents.
  8. Skid Row has a high number of artists and culture bearers that live and work in the neighborhood, in order to make sure Skid Row residents benefit we ask that specific measures be included such as a property owners fee for the arts, contracts with local artists, Firehouse 23 renovation with extensive and accessible programming for adults and youth, dedicated cultural space in new construction and street vending support for local merchants.
  9. Skid Row believes that promoting community participation and partnering with community organizations and local residents for cultural and historic preservation efforts, should be expanded to develop a process and dedicate resources to support a neighborhood council/representative body for the Skid Row community. Residents and workers should have a direct channel to express their voices on all City decisions related to Skid Row, not just cultural and historic preservation efforts.

‘Amazon Comes to Skid Row’

Opening Night performance by LAPD with Stephanie Bell, Henriëtte Brouwers, Iron Donato, Tom Grode, Jamaya Kapri, John Malpede, Lee Maupin, Matt Miyahara, Leyla Martinez, Natosha Smith and ToneTone Taylor.

Opening Night

Rosten Woo and Anna Kobara introduce the exhibition.

Opening Exhibition and Performance.

The exhibition

Panel: How to house 7,000 people in Skid Row.

Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7pm
The Skid Row History Museum

How to house 7,000 people in Skid Row.
We’re talking about housing everyone now living on the streets of Skid Row –and more.

Join us to learn together and in public how housing works and could work in LA.
We’ve invited three housing policy experts to talk with one another and tell us everything we’ve always wanted to know about how to build housing in Los Angeles. All 3 of them have worked in Skid Row and stood up for the neighborhood. You probably know one or more of them:
Molly Rysman, Housing and Homelessness Deputy, LA County;
Eric Ares, Manager of Homeless Systems Change for United Way of Greater Los Angeles;
Jerry Jones, Director of Public Policy, Inner City Law Center & Director of The Provider Alliance.

A coalition of Skid Row community members and groups have created “Skid Row Now & 2040” a plan that identifies funding sources to house people who have extremely low incomes. We’re going to look at the plan–and additional ideas for funding housing that will get people off the streets and into housing.

Speaker bios

Molly Rysman, Housing and Homelessness Deputy
Molly Rysman works to create systems change and public policy that support solutions to homelessness and expands the supply of affordable housing in the 3rd district and throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to joining Supervisor Kuehl’s office, Ms. Rysman served as the Los Angeles Director for CSH, a community development finance institution dedicated to expanding housing solutions to reduce homelessness. As the Director for CSH’s Los Angeles office, Ms. Rysman oversaw all of CSH’s training, lending, technical assistance, and systems change work throughout Los Angeles County Ms. Rysman also served as the External Affairs Director for the Skid Row Housing Trust, one of the largest permanent supportive housing developers in Los Angeles. She collaborated on efforts to serve the most vulnerable individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in Skid Row, including Project 50, the Skid Row Collaborative, and Downtown Pathway Home. Ms. Rysman has also been a stouthearted advocate for underserved communities in Los Angeles, including serving as a Legislative Deputy for Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, working for the Liberty Hill Foundation, and serving survivors of domestic violence at Haven Hills. Molly earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a proud alumnus of California State University Los Angeles, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

Eric Ares, Manager of Homeless Systems Change, Home for Good, United Way of Greater LA
Eric Ares serves as the Manager of Homeless Systems Change for the Home for Good team at United Way of Greater Los Angeles. In this role, he works to improve policies and performance in key systems to end homelessness in L.A. County. Ares previously worked as a Research and Policy Analyst with the National Law Center on Homelessness in Poverty in Washington, D.C.; as a Direct Service Provider and Case Manager/Outreach Worker at LAMP Community (now known as The People Concern); as a Community Organizer and Affordable Housing Policy Advocate with the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH) and the Los Angeles Community Action Network. He earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College.

Jerry Jones, Director of the Provider Alliance
Jerry Jones joined the Inner City Law Center as Director of the Provider Alliance in July 2015. He is the former Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Jerry also served on the senior staff of the Center for Community Change in various roles over a 10-year period, as well as National Director of Project Vote and Executive Director of an anti-hunger organization in Connecticut. He has extensive experience on policy issues related to housing, hunger, and poverty, including testifying at Congressional hearings and authoring numerous studies and reports. Jerry coordinates the Provider Alliance to End Homelessness, a coalition of 57 organizations in Los Angeles providing services and housing to people experiencing homelessness. He is the Board President of Housing Works, an organization serving chronically homeless individuals, and a steering committee member of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Youth Homelessness.

Panel: Plans of Our Own

Monday, January 27, 2020, 6:30pm
The Skid Row History Museum

Plans of Our Own – Community Responses to the DTLA 2040 plan

For years LA’s, Department of City Planning has been producing a vision for downtown LA that completely overhaul’s the land-use framework of the city, imagines nearly 200,000 new residents, and nearly 60 billion dollars of land value by 2040. The first complete draft of that plan is set to be formally released this year.

Join Steve Diaz (LACAN), Tak Suzuki (Little Tokyo Service Center), Sissy Trinh (Southeast Asian Community Alliance), and Doug Smith (Public Counsel) to learn more about the City’s early proposals and what this means for the future of downtown Los Angeles, specifically the communities of Skid Row, Chinatown, and Little Tokyo.

This event also serves as the formal launch of the Central City United People’s Plan, a resident-led vision developed by LACAN, LTSC, SEACA, and Public Counsel.  It’s time to get educated and get involved, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Funders of How To House 7,000 People In Skid Row

The project “How to House 7,000 People in Skid Row” is supported with funding from A Blade of Grass, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with additional support provided by an Engaging Humanities Grant from the University of California Humanities Research Institute.