The first time you see it, I mean, really see it up close, skid row can look unreal. And that was especially true in 2006, when Gary Foster took his first of many strolls through the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood that is home to the homeless.
"I was appalled and moved and saddened," says Foster, who saw entire blocks of encampments.
"But almost every person we met said hello."
Foster, a movie producer, was with business partner Russ Krasnoff that day. They were interested in making a film about a street musician I had been writing about, and they wanted to meet him.
When we got to the Safe Haven, a drop-in center run by the nonprofit Lamp...