The Times is to be commended for its editorial ("Give Them a Chance," Jan. 13) urging the Central City East business community to cooperate with efforts to establish a novel program to provide housing and job training for the mentally ill homeless of Skid Row.
The Los Angeles Men's Place is a project that has interested me for a long time. I have worked to get the funding to help start it and I very much want to see it succeed. By their affirmative vote at City Hall, the members of the Los Angeles City Council also have shown their support for this project.
What is unique about the Los Angeles Men's Place Project is its rehabilitation component. LAMP will offer not just a residential care setting for the homeless mentally ill, but a program of meaningful therapy and work experience to help them become useful and productive citizens.
I urge those who would oppose this project to recognize that the homeless are already in the area. This program will provide a place where the mentally ill homeless can get off the streets and receive the help they need.
Experts estimate that up to 40% of all homeless persons are mentally ill. Given that fact, we need all the support we can muster for programs like the LAMP Project. The business community in the Central City East area has just as much to gain from a successful project as the rest of society.
EDMUND D. EDELMAN