Opinion

If you can stay homeless in Venice, why get off the street?

To the editor: I reside in Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s district and have gone to a number of his neighborhood meetings. During the last few years, I e-mailed him pictures of homeless encampments, graffiti and property damage and wrote of the intimidation that residents face. He responded only once. (“This Venice councilman, once on the verge of homelessness, is trying to help — but he's getting heat from all sides,” Oct. 22)

Measure HHH, which he advocates, is a bad solution. It uses valuable property to build shelters for the homeless. (I am for that!) But if that property were to be sold to developers, the income could provide many more shelters either through new construction or redevelopment. We should provide shelter to those who need it, but a guarantee of beach property seems extravagant. 

Let’s make this city welcoming to those who have been good citizens but are down on their luck. Let’s not provide sanctuary to those who choose the lifestyle. This has a better chance of happening if the city sells its beachside property and provides more housing with the largess.

Arthur Kraus, Venice

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To the editor: Bonin’s leadership is to be applauded. His efforts have meant renewed attempts by the city of Los Angeles and the county to locate the funds and develop a plan to address the shortage of housing for homeless and low-income people in Los Angeles. 

Each community must help, including Venice. When homeless people are housed in permanent supportive housing, which includes ongoing services, each person is able to stabilize and begin getting the assistance they may need for health, mental health, substance use and other issues. 

The many issues described by Venice residents who are opposed to housing homeless people there will no longer be as problematic when people have homes.

Elizabeth Benson Forer, Venice

The writer is chief executive of the Venice Family Clinic.

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