Letters to the Editor: How treating housing as an investment supercharges the homelessness crisis

Encampments take up much of the sidewalk on Spring Street near Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 15.
Encampments take up much of the sidewalk on Spring Street near Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 15.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: With 60% of voters saying homelessness is worsening because incomes have not kept up with the outrageous cost of housing or because people have not received the care they need, we have to consider where these problems come from. We are living in an economy where investment is driving up the cost of everything. (“L.A. voters angry, frustrated over homeless crisis, demand faster action, poll finds,” Dec. 1)

Real estate investment trusts are driving up the cost of housing beyond the capacity of people to pay for it. Investment in medical companies is driving up the cost of medical care.

Investment sloshes around like water in a bucket. It rushes into housing for the highest return. It backs the newest and most expensive drug or treatment for the same reason.


Sooner or later the people whose income has not increased at the rate of return investors demand have to leave their homes or cut their pills in half.

So there you have it. Investment is great for those people who have money to spare, but these very same investments are a disaster for those of us who don’t have money.

Joan DaVanzo, Long Beach


To the editor: As a healthcare provider to people experiencing homelessness, I am pleased to see that this poll found a majority of Angelenos placed a priority on providing services to individuals living in encampments, and that they believed services like medical care should be provided.

People living on the streets are among our most vulnerable. On average, they die more than 20 years before people who have homes.

The current focus on reducing encampments will put the people at greater risk if it does not plan for continuity of medical care, especially as we head into winter and the threat of another COVID-19 surge looms.


Medical care must be an integral part of any plan to move people out of encampments. Outreach workers and medical staff must work closely together so our unhoused neighbors continue to have access to the healthcare they need.

Coley M. King, D.O., Venice

The writer is a physician and director of homeless services at Venice Family Clinic.


To the editor: Rather than a housing problem, we have a compassion problem.

Every attempt by government officials to positively affect the homelessness crisis has been met by intense and militant NIMBYism. From neighborhood councils to the state Legislature and governor’s office, reasonable efforts are met with significant resistance.

I too am fearful of poverty, homelessness and financial insecurity. But these normal human concerns will not be kept away by resisting the placement of shelters and supportive permanent housing.

We must rise above our fears to face this widespread tragedy.

Robin Doyno, Los Angeles