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Robin Mitchell

Amid the bleak rows of factories and fabric shops that line the deserted, trash-filled streets of South Los Angeles, a line forms outside of an old warehouse on Broadway Place.

“What in the hell are you looking at, bitch?” screams a middle-aged woman to no one in particular. Dozens of pencil-thin bodies slowly pick themselves off the pavement and stagger across the street. The sound of shopping cart wheels scraping against the pavement echoes throughout the block. It’s 4 p.m., almost time for New Image Emergency Shelterto open its doors for the night.

Since 1989, New Image has served South Los Angeles’ homeless and at-risk populations by hosting a number of free social service programs designed to address the specific needs of the community.

Along with providing an emergency shelter for 500 clients per night, the organization offers mental health specialists, transitional housing placements, HIV counseling and individual case management.

“They do a very, very good job,” said “Philly” Bob, a 55-year-old from Pennsylvania who has lived at the shelter for one year. “They want you off the street.”

Every day, roughly 300 men and 200 women come from across Los Angeles to stay at New Image. Buses pick up clients from Skid Row, issue or check their New Image identification cards and bring them in to stay the night.

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