Exploring the intersection of public space and homelessness


Episode 20: John Malpede


John Malpede, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department, has been working with the housed and unhoused community members of Skid Row since the mid 1980’s. Through his work, he helps empower community members through art performances and exhibitions. By creating programs that tell the story of this unique community, the LAPD has not only strengthened community bonds, but have also helped to acknowledge the hardships overcome and celebrate the recognition received by  people who, in so many ways, have been told their lives are less than.

I caught up with John during the 8th Annual Festival for All Skid Row Artists at Gladys Park in Los Angeles last fall. Among bands, visual artists and a warm southern California sun, we discussed the work of the LAPD and the importance of the arts in recrafting the narrative of the Skid Row community.  I hope you enjoy the conversation with John, with the background of performers from the community singing and celebrating one another.