Now, more than a year after the last official population count, many of those working with homeless communities believe numbers are much higher.
“There are more women on the street than before,” Raines said, noting that a women’s shelter had closed down amid the pandemic. “The resources had dried up.”
Existing data does not reflect the devastating impact of the pandemic. But if Raines’s estimate is accurate, that’s a Skid Row surge of more than 40 percent since Covid-19 hit.
For the past six years, Raines and her organization, Beauty 2 the Streetz, have been a mainstay on Skid Row, providing food, clothing, hair and makeup services — and most recently health and hygiene items — to thousands of people.
Rain or shine, she sets up “shop” weekly at the corner of 5th and Townes to serve those she calls “Kings” and “Queens.” Her goal: to make the homeless feel human, whether that means a haircut, a facial, a hearty meal, or a hug.
“It’s not so much just giving them makeup or doing their…