Home > Uncategorized > Town Hall meeting changes CRA stance on Skid Row

Town Hall meeting changes CRA stance on Skid Row

March 17, 2010

To whom it may concern, Last night’s Town Hall meeting that was initially intended to discuss the potential purchase of the Rosslyn Hotel by SRO Housing produced an unlikely result as CRA came away with a whole new perspective on Skid Row. The meeting, held at The Exchange on 5th near Main street, had a strong turnout of various concerned citizens including LA CAN, UCEPP, current residents of the Rosslyn Hotel, community activists “OG”( OG’s-N-Service, Skid Row 3on3 Streetball League, Skid Row Artist’s Collective), Wendell Blassingame of DLANC and “Movies on the Nickel”, “Life is… Crushow”, ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS and a vocal room full of folks from Skid Row and Downtown as well . Dave Neubecker from the CRA was also in attendance. However, an obvious absentee was SRO Housing( whose attempt to purchase the Rosslyn Hoel is in escrow), who initially agreed to make a presentation to the community of their plans for the Rosslyn but backed out at the last minute. The meeting was moderated by Russell Brown, Director of the Historic Core BID, President of DLANC and operator of The Exchange where the meeting took place. Brown set the stage for interesting conversation with his own personal testimony about the similarities between Skid Row and areas in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Brown also shared stories of “Ricky the Pirate”, a local Downtown fixture that has been homeless for thirty years and who Brown personally helped gain housing in Skid Row. It was these stories that left one thinking that this is why Brown really got involved, especially hearing him speak in graphic detail about bed bugs and how they were seemingly eating Ricky the Pirate alive.( For the record, Ricky the Pirate does not live in a SRO Housing building) This ultimately led to more passionate and detailed stories from the community residents in attendance about various sufferings at the hand of the Skid Row landlords, SRO Housing and Skid Row Housing Trust being the two biggest. Those stories, most of them first-hand accounts, described many unfair practices that the landlords have been using on the tenants for decades ( I will refrain from detailing them here due to a possible investigation at a later date). It was these countless testimonies that compelled CRA to adjust and summarize their thoughts at the end of the town hall meeting after most attendees had left. Neubecker, who works for CRA which is a financial contributor( millions) in the Rosslyn deal for SRO Housing, hinted that his follow-up report would include the suggestion of more conditions on the Rosslyn Hotel purchase that would be favorable to all tenants. He then eluded to the fact that he intended on revisiting all the conditions attached to every building that SRO Housing manages. ( For more detail please contact the CRA directly) If in fact this does happen, this will be a major blow to the blatant disrespectful practices that the Skid Row landlords have thrusted on the Skid Row residents for decades, which would then lead to a possible permanent overhaul to the way every Skid Row residential building is managed. That, in turn, could then be the very change that gives the Skid Row residents the necessary confidence to collectively improve their own lives by living in an environment that truly supports and encourages, not degrades and hinders. On behalf of the Skid Row community, I would like to thank all the residents that stood up and spoke out as well as all the community leaders and organizations that were in attendance and especially Russell Brown and Dave Neubecker. Note: There were other media entities there that may also cover this story so we didn’t want to act as an “official” news reporting agency. We are simply passing along pertinent information to any interested parties that may be interested in this story, just as we always do. Thank you for your understanding and stay tuned for the announcement of the next Town Hall meeting when SRO Housing is supposed to present. I’m sure it will be a standing room only event that may have historical implications in the way Skid Row is forever managed. Respectfully, General Jeff community activist- ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS Resident Director- Central city East/ Skid Row Board of Directors Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council

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