As part of a series on the rezoning of Skid Row, The Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) held its final showing of the play “The Back Nine” on June 17. The play explores the potential impacts of introducing market-rate housing to the city’s most important haven for low-income individuals.
The LAPD was founded in 1985 by director-activist John Malpede to give the people of Skid Row a voice by participating in the performing arts. Malpede directs and performs in numerous shows about the Skid Row area that is currently being jeopardized by affluent leaders, hoping to bring more attention to the cause he fights for.
The majority of the actors in the LAPD’s performances are homeless. Lee Maupin, a Skid Row resident who acted in the play, voiced that he enjoys how “John and Henriette [Brouwers] give you something to do,” as performers. “The Back Nine” communicates the heartbreaking ways in which the “Downtown Community Plan” may displace the people who call Skid Row their home.
With this project, the LAPD hopes to bring greater visibility to the concerns surrounding this rezoning policy and build support for the enhanced autonomy of Skid Row.