This summer, the paint on the outside of the Union Rescue Mission began to chip away.
Sunlight and urine. The combination damaged the walls of the mission on Skid Row, and eventually Andy Bales, the mission’s CEO, had to resort to urine-proof paint.
“We desperately need more public restrooms [on Skid Row],” Bales said, pointing to the wall. “We often clean, but you can see all the stains here.”
Less than 10 feet away stands one of Skid Row’s five public restrooms, a structure the size of a small cubicle. Each one has only one toilet and one sink inside. To gain access, a user pushes a button to open the door, similar to using an elevator. After stepping inside, the user is given several minutes to use the toilet before the door automatically unlocks and springs back open. The toilets self-clean after each use. Despite the self-cleaning mechanism and regular visits from L.A. Sanitation crews, Skid Row’s bathrooms are not known for being clean facilities.