Fault Lines: A Trip to the Midnight Mission

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"Jean Ellingen sleeps in a tent at the Midnight Mission."
“Jean Ellingen sleeps in a tent at the Midnight Mission.” (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Dinnertime at the Midnight Mission starts at 4:30.

By then, on a sweltering summer afternoon, the line for food at the Skid Row homeless center stretches for nearly an entire block. These days, demand is high at the Midnight Mission, which serves about 3,000 meals a day. By comparison, a typical large, busy L.A. restaurant might serve 1,000. That’s more meals than at any other time since the Great Depression.

It may sound surprising, given that we’re five years into a recovery. But new Census Bureau numbers out this week show that, despite our improving economy, about 20 percent of people in our area live in poverty.

Listen: Madeleine Brand visits the Midnight Mission near Skid Row