Skip to main content

Skid Row Now & 2040 is a coalition of Skid Row grassroots groups and residents, including Los Angeles Poverty Department, United Coalition East Prevention Project, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Los Angeles Community Action Network and other Skid Row residents and leaders, which has been in dialogue with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, the City’s Planning Commissioners and City Council since 2015, as the City has been developing its new zoning and downtown community plan, DTLA2040 Community Plan.

The Skid Row Now & 2040 coalition was formed to ensure that the concerns and vision of current Skid Row residents are incorporated into the City’s plan. While many of Skid Row Now & 2040’s concerns, articulated by Skid Row residents and workers, have been incorporated into the DTLA 2040 Plan, more still need the City’s attention. The unique history of Skid Row, which includes previous planning decisions that saved the low-income housing in the neighborhood and prevented displacement, remains as important today, as the City grapples with creating housing and neighborhoods for people currently unhoused.

Download The Green Paper: Containment and Community: History of Skid Row and its Role in the Downtown Community Plan, an advocacy report in response to the DTLA 2040 plan written by Prof. Catherine Gudis. And Summary of Containment and Community.

Visit the Skid Row Now & 2040 Facebook page
Follow us on Twitter and share our posts to council members.

On FEBRUARY 27, 2024, LA Poverty Department hosted the CD 14 CANDIDATE FORUM @ Skid Row History Museum & Archive. Please download the PDF with the AGENDA AND QUESTIONS here.

Retain and Expand the proposed IX1 Zone (Affordable Housing Only) throughout the boundaries Skid Row.

* Submit your letter to the Council File. Here is the link, look for the Submit a Public Comment button with a red “NEW” label.
* You can use elements of our DTLA 2040 Council File response letter  (10/16/2023) > see below
* Check out our YouTube playlist with Public comments.
* Download the Green Paper cue cards for you public comment here.

Based in our Containment and Community policy paper as a framework and the Department’s recent report, we advocate for City Council to:

  • Retain the IX1 Zone with current boundaries and at 80% affordable housing, and clearly define affordable housing levels to remove moderate income units and prioritize deeply low income, extremely low income, very low income and lower income residents.
  • Retain the Community Benefits Program as currently adopted in the community plan, and described in this report.
  • Define representative members of the oversight committee for the Community Benefit Trust Fund so 30% of membership includes residents or workers with lived experienced of being unhoused.
  • Ensure funds from the Community Benefit Trust Fund are used within a 1-mile radius of Downtown Los Angeles development, not a 1.5-mile radius, with a priority benefit to Skid Row.

As the adopted community plan moves through the City Attorney’s review and subsequent implementation, we also continue to advocate for City Council to:

  • Establish a Skid Row district council for self-representation by residents (housed and unhoused) and workers within the historical Skid Row boundaries.
  • Implement elements of DTLA 2040 that foster a healthy and sustainable Skid Row neighborhood.

Political compromise at City Council’s PLUM Committee jeopardizes special protections for the Skid Row community.
On Monday, the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee of the City Council moved forward a Community Plan that would determine the fate of Skid Row. As the Plan rightfully acknowledges, Skid Row is a community, and one that has organized itself to win changes that have benefitted residents citywide: the establishment of LAUSD’s Homeless Education Office Support Program, the 6th Street bike lane, and the Hotel Conversion moratorium, to name a few.

Skid Row’s General Jeff convinced the city to create a procedure to make it possible to subdivide a neighborhood council, something many other neighborhoods have benefitted from since then. But three days before the election to approve a Skid Row Neighborhood Council in 2017, their Council Member for District 14, Jose Huizar, changed the rules to favor DTLA development interests and the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was defeated by 67 votes.

For the last six years, Skid Row residents and community organizations have worked alongside and been in dialogue with the Department of City Planning and the Planning Commissioners to preserve their community. These city entities took significant time to meet with any who believed they had a stake in the future rezoning of Downtown L.A. and painstakingly crafted a new community Plan that tried to weave the varied interests of these people together. One consistent part of that plan was a low income housing only IX1 Zone to ensure that the generative voice of this low income community will continue both to be heard and to benefit all Angelenos into the future. The IX1 zone provides special protections and considerations for an impacted community in need of unique, equitable, responsive land use practices.

But this week, the larger DTLA community in general, and Skid Row specifically, was reminded how uncommitted some of the City Council is to honor all voices. PLUM scheduled decision-making meetings for two Community Plans – processes that have each taken half a decade to construct – on one day, on a Monday, in fact, which, as the LAPD officers outside the meeting room told us, “We are not staffed on Mondays for Public Comment.” Many residents and community organizations came to the 1PM meeting only to find others had been lined up since 10AM, so when the Council limited public comment for each Plan to one hour, many knew their voices would not be heard. 

But that didn’t really matter – the Councilmembers seemed to have made up their minds before the meeting even began. They ignored the recommendations of the Council people for Districts 1 and 14, the two individuals who actually represent Skid Row. They introduced ideas that had never been mentioned in the 6-year long process: the only portion of Skid Row that would be preserved would be 80% affordable instead of 100%. The original allowance of 100% affordable-only was specifically designed to prevent displacement of vulnerable community members. And the numbers and policies introduced also made little sense from a development standpoint.

Why does it so often feel like residents and grassroots community organizations get little chance to shape their futures? What happened to all the rhetoric about equity? Why do backroom deals seem to craft policy shifts before the community gets to offer public input? For Skid Row, this is a reminder – once again – that DTLA development interests will always take precedence over thecommunity they have painstakingly worked to build and protect. And for those who welcome the decimation of Skid Row, let us remember that developers first came for Skid Row, and many did not speak out, but soon they could come for your neighborhood too.

The Blue Book’s vision, written in 1976, saved Skid Row’s housing.
See the exhibition – up until July/31/2023 at Skid Row History Museum & Archive

Skid Row Now & 2040’s Vision Document
Vision Document graphic: the short list.
Skid Row Now & 2040’s response to the DTLA2040 community plan: 9 talking points.
Talking points for the City Panning Commission’s hearing: Public Comment toolkit
In 2015 Theresa Hwang lead the community in creating the Our Skid Row community designed map

Nov. 22, 2022, 11am: PRESS CONFERENCE at Skid Row History Museum & Archive
The Skid Row Now & 2040 Coalition releases its policy paper Containment and Community: History of Skid Row and its Role in the Downtown Community Plan with the exhibit Blue Book – Green Paper.

Los Angeles Poverty Department dedicated serval projects to the new zoning plans and the consequences they will have for the Skid Row community. See: The BACK 9, Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles and How to House 7,000 People In Skid Row. And an exhibition about Skid Row’s efforts to have representation in the decisions that are made about its community: Zillionaires Against Humanity: Sabotaging the Skid Row Neighborhood Council.

As a result, the Department of City Planning created a special zone where only affordable housing with extremely low and deeply low-income levels can be built: the i X 1 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. We want the expansion of the i X 1 zone to the existing Skid Row neighborhood boundaries: from Main to Alameda, and from 3rd to 7th street.

Download DCP’s Draft Concepts for Skid Row Plan Area 2 Area 2 is the Ix1 zone, approved by the City Planning Commission and Council member for district 14, Kevin de Leon.

Watch the Public Comments we submitted at the Public Hearing for the DTLA 2040 Community Plan draft.
Community advocates from The Catholic Worker, The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and The Community Design Center, frustrated by the wholesale displacement of Bunker Hill residents, organized and presented the “Blue Book” plan, one that saved the single room occupancy hotels and committed resources to renovating and augmenting this housing and locating social services in the area.
April 21, 2022 Skid Row Now & 2040 strategy session at the Hippy Kitchen

Community Strategy Meeting on October 6, 2022 @ the Hippie Kitchen garden
The Skid Row Now and 2040 coalition is happy to present our GREEN PAPER, an advocacy report in response to the DTLA 2040 plan which is now moving to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee and will soon land at LA City Council for approval.

May 25, 2021 – WOMEN IN SKID ROW
A group of engaged Women in Skid Row (WISR) wrote an letter and submitted an Amicus Brief in response to the lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles by Judge Carter and the LA Alliance for Human Rights.

The Honorable Judge David O. Carter, LA Human Rights Alliance, and the City and County of Los Angeles:
We represent a collective of advocates for the unhoused people of Skid Row, and we are extremely troubled by the consequences for our community should the Court’s injunction be implemented. Despite purporting to be an attempt to combat the circumstances created by historical racism, displacement, and houselessness, especially for bodies of color, this injunction reads like the blueprint for white supremacy and systemic racism. Read the entire letter here.

In the wake of the clear-cutting of historic Bunker Hill in 1955, Skid Row was headed for a similar “redevelopment,” under a proposed general development plan known as the “Silver Book.” Community advocates from The Catholic Worker, The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and The Community Design Center, frustrated by the wholesale displacement of Bunker Hill residents, organized and presented an alternative plan, one that saved the single room occupancy hotels and committed resources to renovating and augmenting this housing and locating social services in the area.
This plan, known as “The Blue Book,” was adopted by the City Council, with a majority of votes, some concerned with providing housing and others simply concerned with keeping displaced Skid Row people from coming to their neighborhoods. The framers of the plan argued that it was cheaper to save and renovate Skid Row housing than to try to build it elsewhere, as new construction would be more costly and face local resistance.