In response to queries from readers about how help improve things on skid row, here is a partial list of established agencies:

Los Angeles Catholic Worker

Catholic Workers say their mission is to "feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner." They run a skid row soup kitchen. lacatholicworker.org

Central City Community Outreach

A ministry of the Church of the Nazarene, Central City provides, among other services, an after-school tutoring program for children on skid row. www.lacentralcity.org

Chrysalis

Chrysalis offers a wide range of job training and employment services. changelives.org

Downtown Women's Center

Women on skid row can drop in here for showers, meals, restrooms and mail services. The agency also provides permanent housing to 47 previously homeless women. dwcweb.org

Fred Jordan Mission

This mission has a particular focus on mothers and children. http://www.fjm.org

Inner City Law Center

Focusing primarily on housing and benefits, the center offers legal services. http://www.innercitylaw.org

JWCH Institute

The JWCH Institute runs programs that provide medical services to indigent patients. http://www.jwchinstitute.org

Los Angeles Mission

Offering everything from meals and shelter to medical treatment and drug treatment, this mission has served L.A.'s homeless and poor since 1936. http://www.losangelesmission.org

Midnight Mission

Even before the Los Angeles Mission arrived on skid row, there was the Midnight Mission. Founded in 1914, it offers everything from temporary shelter and food to longer-term housing and recovery programs. http://www.midnightmission.org