Sharky, with his dog Buddy here, has been living on Skid Row consistently for the last three years with his wife. Together the couple has lived on and off Skid Row for many years, but normally for only three to four months at a time. Usually that’s all the time it takes for them to get back on their feet. This time, they say, it’s harder than ever to get into housing and find work. Sharky is a two striker, and because of his appearance, people won’t hire him. “I’ll shovel horse shit for eight hours a day, I don’t care. No one will hire me because of my record and the way I look.” He tells me the first time he came to Skid Row was with his Dad when he was thirteen. They came to score heroin together, and he himself used for many years. Sharky has been clean for awhile now and he and his wife were living in sober living facility, but it was putting a strain on their marriage. They decided they’d rather be happily married, even if it means living in a tent on the street, than continue to live in a sober house and have their marriage fall apart.
Suitcase Joe is a Los Angeles photographer who lives anonymously in our amongst. His Instagram page is an important document of our times. @suitcase_joe