Troy Vaughn

Troy Vaughn is CEO of Los Angeles Mission.

As a community in Downtown Los Angeles, Skid Row is not often seen as a collection of people. Instead, its stretch of tent-laden streets is marked with statistics about overdose and crime. It’s an image Los Angeles Mission CEO Troy Vaughn has dedicated his life to changing for the better.

On Monday, July 25, LA Mission will host a “Summer Day of Service” with a free concert from Grammy Award-winning gospel group Maverick City Music to mark the start of the Skid Row Revitalization Project, whose mission is to uplift those living on Skid Row.

“We really wanted to do something in our community to reestablish it as a community from the optic of how people view Skid Row, not some blight that needs to be looked over but to understand that there’re real people that live and work in this community,” Vaughn said.

“If we can really begin to hone our collective energy to focus on it, wouldn’t it be great if we can restore it back to what it could be? A service hub center, a place where people can live with low income, mixed housing, a real community that we can make available to low-income residents within our neighborhood but also that needs to thrive in harmony with local businesses.”

Through the Skid Row Revitalization Project, Vaughn hopes to bring together community members, advocates, organizations and government partners from across DTLA and create a space where people can feel protected and find opportunities to create a better life for themselves and their families.

“I wanted to create an environment where we just came out and be neighbors, and to start there in that place and then build from that a conversation about what it looks like to be a community and to maintain community together,” Vaughn explained.

“So, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we created a fair-like environment and then made it a benefit concert? Then we would raise resources and awareness and open up those resources to people that would be utilizing it. A lot of times those people don’t get an opportunity to go to concerts and appreciate that kind of a space because they can’t afford to, so what if we brought it to them?”

In addition to the live performance by Maverick City Music, which will perform to a sold-out audience at the Crypto.com Arena the night before, LA Mission will provide food and essential supplies to Skid Row residents.

When off the stage, Maverick City Music plans to spend the day personally giving back to the community. Nearly 2,000 attendees are expected to gather for the gated street festival, which will offer an outdoor fellowship, prayer requests, free on-site showers, hygiene kits, giveaways, raffles and bikes donated by Metro.

“We have companies like Amazon, Home Depot and Hilton coming in to offer jobs on the spot,” Vaughn said. “We’re going to have haircuts, a beauty salon and showers for people so they can feel like they’re ready to talk to a person about a job opportunity. We’re going to have housing vouchers that we can give to people right there on the spot if they want to come off the streets. … You name it. We’ve got to have it all.

“It’s just a time for us to appreciate the fact of being a part of the human race and being a part of the community. So people are free to come on out and be a part of that and let your light above shine so freely that we can see the greater work in humanity.”

Vaughn also expressed that the importance of this event to each individual member of the Skid Row community could not be overstated as their community becomes more interwoven in the fabric of DTLA.

“It’s going to mean the world to them because, finally, everybody that is in the community sees them as a part of the community, and I think that the biggest win ever is for them to know that somebody sees them,” Vaughn said.

To contribute resources or time as a volunteer with LA Mission or the Skid Row Revitalization Project, visit losangelesmission.org.

“I believe over time, the momentum that’s based on our consistency will continue to get more and more people involved in the process of community transformation,” Vaughn said. “I really hope that it will set a blaze of other efforts throughout not just the city but the county and the state for these opportunities to come together as a community and take control of our own futures.”

The Skid Row Revitalization Project’s Summer Day of Service

WHERE: Los Angeles Mission, 303 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles

WHEN: Monday, July 25, from 12 to 5 p.m.

COST: Free admission

INFO: losangelesmission.org