Readers React

'Housing first' isn't a novel strategy on homelessness

To the editor: The article about the tremendous success of "housing first" in Utah eloquently describes how that approach is the real solution to chronic homelessness. Utah's success is indeed noteworthy, but its effort is not truly novel. ("Utah is winning the war on chronic homelessness with 'Housing First' program," May 24)

In fact, housing first has been the keystone for years in every serious effort across Los Angeles to house the unconscionable number of homeless on our streets. It is at the core of United Way's Home for Good initiative and the paradigm used by every successful provider of services to the chronically homeless.

However, in Los Angeles, as a result of inadequate political will, insufficient resources and outmoded practices, this proven solution has still not been scaled up to serve the high number of homeless on our streets.

The tragedy of the growing number of chronically homeless individuals in our midst is all the more shameful now that we know how to address it.

John Ladner, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I have read with great interest every piece of coverage The Times has published on homelessness over the last few months. Combating this horrendous and monumental social problem is certainly worthy of front-page attention.

To find coverage of a highly successful solution implemented in Utah on Page A-20 was very disappointing.

First providing a roof and four walls allows individuals to figure out what they need to recover. It actually works and is also cost effective. Much deeper examination and more prominent placement is warranted.

Marilyn Milne, Escondido

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