5th Street in downtown Los Angeles - a place where many homeless hang out. The song 'On The Nickel' was written for the made-for-TV movie "On The Nickel" by Ralph Waite. "The Nickel" is a mission located on 5th street. It seems that anyone "on the nickel" would be someone down and out with no place to go.
"And what becomes of all the little boys who never comb their hair? They're lined up all around the block on the nickle over there." - Tom Waits from the song "On the Nickle" (Heart Attack and Vine)