Crews clean up section of Skid Row; residents offered services

Crews arrived in along San Julian and 6th streets in Skid Row Wednesday to clean the streets and to connect homeless residents with services.
Crews arrived in along San Julian and 6th streets in Skid Row Wednesday to clean the streets and to connect homeless residents with services. Organizers hope to get those people off the streets.

Clean-up crews did their best to separate trash from people's private property. Many of the homeless people there have their whole lives packed with them on the streets.

An increase in funding and better coordination with the county is allowing city crews to step up cleaning efforts. If left unattended the garbage and human waste can become a public health hazard.

This isn't just about cleaning the streets; it's also about reaching out to people who need help, especially people with mental health issues.

Los Angeles County also recently approved "Laura's Law," which will allow them to be more proactive in helping the mentally ill in the months to come.

"We are very, very excited about it, because this will give us one more tool to be able to get these individuals to get mental health treatment," said Irma Castaneda, district chief of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Department.

And some residents see the need.

"This is like a walking clinic down here," said Armida Monreall, who lives on Skid Row. "People fall through the gap. They need help."

Keeping the streets clean helps, but getting people off the street is the real battle. And health experts feel one of the first steps Is getting the homeless to want the help that's being offered.

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