You are currently viewing Street Photographer Suitcase Joe Captures the Humanity of Skid Row

Street Photographer Suitcase Joe Captures the Humanity of Skid Row

Skid Row may be the most notorious slum area in the United States. Often described as third world poverty in our first world country, Skid Row is the epicenter of the homeless crisis in America.

Skid Row is a 50 square block area of downtown Los Angeles with 9,000 people in various states of homelessness. Images of addiction, mental illness, crime, gangs, and streets lined with tents are how most people know Skid Row, but Skid Row is also a vibrant community with beautiful people doing the best they can to survive.

While many have tried, few photographers have managed to capture the heartbreak within this vulnerable community. Fewer still have managed to capture the heart. Yet the humble homeless advocate and anonymous street photographer known only as Suitcase Joe has managed to do both.

Unlike other photographers, Suitcase Joe likes to spend real, actual quality time with the people he photographs. Suitcase Joe has become part of the Skid Row community itself, and it shows in the candid black and white images he shares with us on Instagram

Update on Scrappy: Her health is declining, and she’s not hanging out as much. She’s rejected going into hospice care. Scrappy wants to spend out her days surrounded by her community and where she feels at home and loved.

Invisible Stories is a mini-doc series that goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages understand, and can’t ignore.

Watch more Invisible Stories mini-documentaries on homelessness

Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.

Executive producer: Mark Horvath

Producer/editor/cinematographer: Alex Gasaway

#homeless #losangeles #skidrow

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About Invisible People

There is a direct correlation between what the general public perceives about homelessness and how it affects policy change. Most people blame homelessness on the person experiencing it instead of the increasing shortage of affordable housing, lack of employment, a living wage or the countless reasons that put a person at risk. This lack of understanding creates a dangerous cycle of misperception that leads to the inability to effectively address the root causes of homelessness.

We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Each day, we work to fight homelessness by giving it a face while educating individuals about the systemic issues that contribute to its existence. Through storytelling, education, news, and activism, we are changing the narrative on homelessness.

This isn’t just talk. Each year, our groundbreaking educational content reaches more than a billion people across the globe. Our real and unfiltered stories of homelessness shatter stereotypes, demand attention and deliver a call-to-action that is being answered by governments, major brands, nonprofit organizations, and everyday citizens just like you.

However, there is more work to be done on the road ahead. Homelessness is undoubtedly one of our biggest societal issues today and will only continue to grow if we don’t take action now.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about homelessness through innovative storytelling, news, and advocacy. Since our launch in 2008, Invisible People has become a pioneer and trusted resource for inspiring action and raising awareness in support of advocacy, policy change and thoughtful dialogue around poverty in North America and the United Kingdom.


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