The reasons someone may end up on Skid Row are as varied as the people who inhabit the community. In a city where rents are skyrocketing and major income disparity, it’s easier than people may think to become homeless. But the 50-plus-block downtown L.A. neighborhood is no longer being treated like a lost cause, thanks in part to organizations that are focusing on the people who inhabit Skid Row and what skills they may need to get back on their feet.
Skid Row Coffee was created with the community in mind. Co-founder Danny Park grew up working in his family’s mini-mart, Best Market, on Skid Row. There he got a close-up look at the people and stories that make up the neighborhood. Two years ago he and his partner, Andrew Kang, decided to start Skid Row Coffee as a pop-up that would travel to different parks and events in the Skid Row area, serving drinks that are priced on a sliding scale. They both understood a coffee shop to be a place where community gathers.
Kang, who has a background in coffee, also started teaching free barista courses to people in the neighborhood. Not only was Skid Row Coffee able to teach espresso pulling and latte making, they were also able to create a space of respect and shared values.