Letters to the Editor: Want to use the system to help homeless neighbors? Good luck

A sidewalk homeless encampment in Los Angeles on Nov. 17.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am grateful for homeless outreach volunteer Daniel Polansky’s story about trying get services for his unhoused friend.

I have a similar experience to share. I am a street chaplain for homeless neighbors in northeast Los Angeles. I visit many neighbors, but of course I have favorites too. One of my favorite neighbors has been sick for weeks and in and out of the hospital.

I tried to get her a hotel room for the week of Christmas, paying out of my organization’s funds, but could not pay for a room to get her off the street myself, as she has no ID. She has lived in Los Angeles since the early 1990s and birthed three U.S. citizens, but she needs help to even start immigration paperwork after all these years.


I have been doing my best to stay in my lane as a chaplain and assist our neighbors and our beloved and overworked case workers and authorities. But it sure is hard for a private citizen to use our great system to personally help the poor.

Dave Saltzman, Los Angeles


To the editor: Everyone wants to know why there are so many homeless people in Los Angeles. People don’t choose to be homeless, but we are treated like bums. And getting help is not as easy.

I became homeless because the system failed. Homeowners and property owners want tenants to pay their rent and abide by their rules. But they don’t follow Section 8 protocol, or the minute you do something they don’t like, you’re on the street.

I am a licensed security guard. I work and pay my bills.

Shannon Franklin, Norwalk