Closing the Gap on the “Dirty Divide” in DTLA

In April 2013 LA CAN released its report entitled, The Dirty Divide, to highlight the the lack of public amenities for downtown’s poorest residents. Utilizing a public health and human rights framework the report made a compelling argument on why elected officials/duty-bearers needed to immediately reverse the grotesque absence of public health infrastructure.

Additionally, the report included a set of recommendations that could ultimately assist in creating a strategy to end the inequities. (see below) As an organization that set of recommendations guides our organizing and planning to ensure the health of Skid Row residents is taken seriously.

Recommendation #2 of 8 calls for adequate numbers of trash receptacles be placed in Skid Row and today look we showed up:

A New Delivery of Trash Cans to Skid Row

A New Delivery of Trash Cans to Skid Row

We see this first delivery of (17) trash cans as a start. As a community we will not stop organizing and fighting until all of our demands/recommendations are met. We have a long way to go and we look forward to your support along the way.


Human rights require a focus on the most vulnerable, those who are most often excluded from progress. Often, these people are characterized as the most difficult to reach, but this cannot be a justification for neglecting them – on the contrary. Human rights require that there be universal access. Hence, merely addressing formal or direct discrimination will not ensure substantive equality. To eliminate discrimination in practice, special attention must be paid to groups of individuals, who suffer historical or persistent prejudice instead of merely comparing the formal treatment of individuals in similar situations. In order to respond to the human rights violations outlined in this report and begin to ensure public health equity, LA CAN recommends the following actions.

  1. Shift current political and governmental priorities and resources from criminalization to housing.
  2. Place adequate numbers of trash receptacles in skid row with frequent disposal.  
  3. Frequent trash collection in skid row.
  4. Immediately increase the number of restroom facilities available to residents.
  5. Frequently clean skid row restrooms and ensure toilet paper, soap and hot water are available. 
  6. Provide potable water sources for skid row residents.
  7. Install Hygiene Centers at local parks or other accessible locations.
  8. Develop a community health council to address issues for the long-term.

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