LA’s Skid Row has TRIPLE the number of locals lining up for food since the city went into lockdown

The number of people visiting Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row for free meals has tripled since the city went on lockdown two weeks ago, DailyMail.com can disclose.

Skid Row is home to 5,000 homeless people – 3,000 of whom sleep in shabby tents or wrapped in blankets on the sidewalk itself.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would add thousands of temporary shelter beds to get the population off the streets to protect them from coronavirus on March 19.

But photos taken exclusively by DailyMail.com reveal there has been no decline in the number of rough sleepers in the area, while local charities say they are being overwhelmed by the extra demand – which comes as donations decline.

The number of people visiting Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row for free meals has tripled since the city went on lockdown two weeks ago, DailyMail.com can disclose

The number of people visiting Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row for free meals has tripled since the city went on lockdown two weeks ago, DailyMail.com can disclose

The number of people visiting Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row for free meals has tripled since the city went on lockdown two weeks ago, DailyMail.com can disclose

Skid Row is home to 5,000 homeless people – 3,000 of whom sleep in shabby tents or wrapped in blankets on the sidewalk itself

Skid Row is home to 5,000 homeless people – 3,000 of whom sleep in shabby tents or wrapped in blankets on the sidewalk itself

Skid Row is home to 5,000 homeless people – 3,000 of whom sleep in shabby tents or wrapped in blankets on the sidewalk itself

But photos taken exclusively by DailyMail.com reveal there has been no decline in the number of rough sleepers in the area, while local charities say they are being overwhelmed by the extra demand – which comes as donations decline

But photos taken exclusively by DailyMail.com reveal there has been no decline in the number of rough sleepers in the area, while local charities say they are being overwhelmed by the extra demand – which comes as donations decline

But photos taken exclusively by DailyMail.com reveal there has been no decline in the number of rough sleepers in the area, while local charities say they are being overwhelmed by the extra demand – which comes as donations decline

Large crowds could also be seen outside other Skid Row non-profits at mealtimes when DailyMail.com visited last Wednesday and Thursday

Large crowds could also be seen outside other Skid Row non-profits at mealtimes when DailyMail.com visited last Wednesday and Thursday

Large crowds could also be seen outside other Skid Row non-profits at mealtimes when DailyMail.com visited last Wednesday and Thursday

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would add thousands of temporary shelter beds to get the population off the streets to protect them from coronavirus on March 19

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would add thousands of temporary shelter beds to get the population off the streets to protect them from coronavirus on March 19

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would add thousands of temporary shelter beds to get the population off the streets to protect them from coronavirus on March 19

Georgia Berkovich, of Skid Row’s Midnight Mission which provides three meals a day to the area’s homeless, says the crisis has seen the numbers coming to them for food shoot up.

She said: ‘Around this time of the month, we would normally see 400 to 600 a meal, sometimes as it gets closer to the end of the month, we might go as high as 1.000 a meal.

‘This week, we’ve been seeing 1,700 a meal. We’re still serving three meals a day but we’re seeing three times the number of people.’

Large crowds could also be seen outside other Skid Row non-profits, including The Weingart Center and Fred Jordan Missions, at mealtimes when DailyMail.com visited last Wednesday and Thursday.

The spike in demand for free meals came as it was announced that 3.3 million people had signed up for unemployment benefits nationwide last week.

Governor Gavin Newsom said last week that 1 million of those claims were made in California alone – parts of which have been shut down for weeks.

But for California’s 151,000 homeless community, life has continued as normal despite the lockdown – and in spite of official attempts to help. 

But for California's 151,000 homeless community, life has continued as normal despite the lockdown and in spite of official attempts to help. Pictured: Skid Row streets overflowing with large groups of people lining up for a chance to pick up a meal

But for California's 151,000 homeless community, life has continued as normal despite the lockdown and in spite of official attempts to help. Pictured: Skid Row streets overflowing with large groups of people lining up for a chance to pick up a meal

But for California’s 151,000 homeless community, life has continued as normal despite the lockdown and in spite of official attempts to help. Pictured: Skid Row streets overflowing with large groups of people lining up for a chance to pick up a meal

The spike in demand for free meals came as it was announced that 3.3 million people have signed up for unemployment benefits nationwide this week

The spike in demand for free meals came as it was announced that 3.3 million people have signed up for unemployment benefits nationwide this week

 The spike in demand for free meals came as it was announced that 3.3 million people have signed up for unemployment benefits nationwide this week

In Los Angeles, which is home to 60,000 homeless people, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced plans to spend $20 million on 1,600 extra shelter beds, with a further 6,000 to be delivered by the American Red Cross

In Los Angeles, which is home to 60,000 homeless people, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced plans to spend $20 million on 1,600 extra shelter beds, with a further 6,000 to be delivered by the American Red Cross

 In Los Angeles, which is home to 60,000 homeless people, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced plans to spend $20 million on 1,600 extra shelter beds, with a further 6,000 to be delivered by the American Red Cross

When DailyMail.com visited Skid Row, hundreds of homeless people could be seen out on the street – virtually all with little or no protective equipment

When DailyMail.com visited Skid Row, hundreds of homeless people could be seen out on the street – virtually all with little or no protective equipment

 When DailyMail.com visited Skid Row, hundreds of homeless people could be seen out on the street – virtually all with little or no protective equipment

The homeless are among the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles with many suffering from underlying health conditions as well as drink and drug addiction

The homeless are among the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles with many suffering from underlying health conditions as well as drink and drug addiction

The homeless are among the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles with many suffering from underlying health conditions as well as drink and drug addiction

In Los Angeles, which is home to 60,000 homeless people, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced plans to spend $20 million on 1,600 extra shelter beds, with a further 6,000 to be delivered by the American Red Cross. 

Garcetti has also said he plans to put santizer stations around the city and increase the number of Porta Potty units available for the homeless to use. 

In a statement released on March 18, he said: ‘We are taking immediate, urgent action to slow the spread of COVID-19 by helping people who are experiencing homelessness come indoors.’ 

But when DailyMail.com visited Skid Row, hundreds of homeless people could be seen out on the street – virtually all with little or no protective equipment.

Some were clustered chatting together in groups, while others were slumped over in doorways or passed out under quilts on the sidewalk.

Most shocking of all were the crowds that gathered at mealtimes outside the missions, crammed in on the sidewalk and far less than the recommended six feet apart.

Approached by DailyMail.com about what the city is doing to control the crowds of people on Skid Row, a member of Garcetti’s public affairs team said she had no explanation but would ask a member of the operations team to reach out with further information.

At the time of publication, DailyMail.com was still waiting for a response.  

Georgia Berkovich, of Skid Row's Midnight Mission which provides three meals a day to the area's homeless, says the crisis has seen the numbers coming to them for food shoot up

Georgia Berkovich, of Skid Row's Midnight Mission which provides three meals a day to the area's homeless, says the crisis has seen the numbers coming to them for food shoot up

Georgia Berkovich, of Skid Row’s Midnight Mission which provides three meals a day to the area’s homeless, says the crisis has seen the numbers coming to them for food shoot up

According to a report released last year by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, heart disease is the third biggest cause of death among the homeless

According to a report released last year by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, heart disease is the third biggest cause of death among the homeless

According to a report released last year by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, heart disease is the third biggest cause of death among the homeless

It is also one of the serious underlying conditions that can produce a worse outcome in those who are infected with COVID-19

It is also one of the serious underlying conditions that can produce a worse outcome in those who are infected with COVID-19

It is also one of the serious underlying conditions that can produce a worse outcome in those who are infected with COVID-19

Overdoses are a regular occurrence on Skid Row, with EMTs seen arriving three times in one hour on Wednesday

Overdoses are a regular occurrence on Skid Row, with EMTs seen arriving three times in one hour on Wednesday

Overdoses are a regular occurrence on Skid Row, with EMTs seen arriving three times in one hour on Wednesday

The one tent on Skid Row that had a red cross on it was being used for religious rather than medical purposes, with lists of Bible reading times written on the side

The one tent on Skid Row that had a red cross on it was being used for religious rather than medical purposes, with lists of Bible reading times written on the side

The one tent on Skid Row that had a red cross on it was being used for religious rather than medical purposes, with lists of Bible reading times written on the side

The homeless are among the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles with many suffering from underlying health conditions, as well as drink and drug addiction.

According to a report released last year by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, heart disease is the third biggest cause of death among the homeless.

It is also one of the serious underlying conditions that can produce a worse outcome in those who are infected with COVID-19. 

Overdoses are a regular occurrence on Skid Row, with EMTs seen arriving three times in one hour on Wednesday. 

Other hazards of life on Skid Row include low-level crime, traffic danger and violence – the same LA County report noted that murder accounts for six percent of deaths among residents every year.

As a result, coronavirus could prove especially deadly if it is allowed to run rampant among California’s homeless community.

Berkovich thinks it may already be too late to stop it, telling DailyMail.com: ‘There have not been any cases in the homeless community [officially] but I don’t know…

‘There hasn’t been enough testing done to have a number and I suspect that there may be some who do test positive but we won’t know because there are not enough tests right now.’

Other hazards of life on Skid Row include low-level crime, traffic danger and violence – the same LA County report noted that murder accounts for six per cent of deaths among residents every year

Other hazards of life on Skid Row include low-level crime, traffic danger and violence – the same LA County report noted that murder accounts for six per cent of deaths among residents every year

Other hazards of life on Skid Row include low-level crime, traffic danger and violence – the same LA County report noted that murder accounts for six per cent of deaths among residents every year

Governor Gavin Newsom has also pledged help and said last week that he plans to spend $150 m on housing the homeless in hotels and trailers for the duration of the crisis. On March 18, he said the state has already purchased 1,309 trailers and leased two hotels

Governor Gavin Newsom has also pledged help and said last week that he plans to spend $150 m on housing the homeless in hotels and trailers for the duration of the crisis. On March 18, he said the state has already purchased 1,309 trailers and leased two hotels

Governor Gavin Newsom has also pledged help and said last week that he plans to spend $150 m on housing the homeless in hotels and trailers for the duration of the crisis. On March 18, he said the state has already purchased 1,309 trailers and leased two hotels

As a result, coronavirus could prove especially deadly if it is allowed to run rampant among California's homeless community

As a result, coronavirus could prove especially deadly if it is allowed to run rampant among California's homeless community

As a result, coronavirus could prove especially deadly if it is allowed to run rampant among California’s homeless community

Most shocking of all were the crowds that gathered at mealtimes outside the missions, crammed in on the sidewalk and far less than the recommended six feet apart

Most shocking of all were the crowds that gathered at mealtimes outside the missions, crammed in on the sidewalk and far less than the recommended six feet apart

Most shocking of all were the crowds that gathered at mealtimes outside the missions, crammed in on the sidewalk and far less than the recommended six feet apart

Berkovich added: ‘It’s impossible to keep six feet apart in Skid Row. If you look at the homeless encampments, the tents are side by side.

‘If it hits the community, there’s going to be no way from stopping it from spreading.’

But unlike the rest of Los Angeles, the residents of Skid Row cannot ride out the storm at home because – despite Garcetti’s pledge of more beds – they have nowhere to go. 

Charities working in the area are attempting to stem the tide by insisting that all volunteers and staff have their temperatures checked before arriving for work each day.

Cleaning has been stepped up, both in the missions and on the street itself where gaggles of street cleaners have been seen attempting to disinfect the area. 

And the hand sanitizer stations and extra Porta Potty units promised by Garcetti have materialized in small numbers.

But there was little sign of any efforts to inform the homeless of the situation, with Berkovich saying they are more isolated than ever after being stripped of their usual opportunities to see the news in restaurants or cafes.

The one tent on Skid Row that had a red cross on it was being used for religious rather than medical purposes, with lists of Bible reading times written on the side.

Cleaning has been stepped up, both in the missions and on the street itself where gaggles of street cleaners have been seen attempting to disinfect the area

Cleaning has been stepped up, both in the missions and on the street itself where gaggles of street cleaners have been seen attempting to disinfect the area

Cleaning has been stepped up, both in the missions and on the street itself where gaggles of street cleaners have been seen attempting to disinfect the area 

Georgia added: 'Around this time of the month, we would normally see 400 to 600 a meal, sometimes as it gets closer to the end of the month, we might go as high as 1000 a meal'

Georgia added: 'Around this time of the month, we would normally see 400 to 600 a meal, sometimes as it gets closer to the end of the month, we might go as high as 1000 a meal'

Georgia added: ‘Around this time of the month, we would normally see 400 to 600 a meal, sometimes as it gets closer to the end of the month, we might go as high as 1000 a meal’

She added: 'This week, we've been seeing 1700 a meal. We're still serving three meals a day but we're seeing three times the number of people'

She added: 'This week, we've been seeing 1700 a meal. We're still serving three meals a day but we're seeing three times the number of people'

She added: ‘This week, we’ve been seeing 1700 a meal. We’re still serving three meals a day but we’re seeing three times the number of people’

Charities working in the area are attempting to stem the tide by insisting that all volunteers and staff have their temperatures checked before arriving for work each day

Charities working in the area are attempting to stem the tide by insisting that all volunteers and staff have their temperatures checked before arriving for work each day

Charities working in the area are attempting to stem the tide by insisting that all volunteers and staff have their temperatures checked before arriving for work each day

Like Garcetti, Newsom has also pledged help and said last week that he plans to spend $150 million on housing the homeless in hotels and trailers for the duration of the crisis.

On March 18, he said the state has already purchased 1,309 trailers and leased two hotels.

He said: ‘California is deploying massive resources to get these vulnerable residents safely into shelter, removing regulatory barriers and securing trailers and hotels to provide immediate housing options for those most at risk.

‘Helping these residents is critical to protecting public health, flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19.’

But with 151,000 homeless people living in California, the extra beds already in place are far from being enough.

Berkovich said: ‘There is no Safer At Home for the people who have no home. This Safer At Home initiative just seems especially cruel for them.’

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