Letters to the Editor: Unhoused and freezing. ‘White house’ demolished. L.A.’s inhumanity on homelessness shows

A man sits on the sidewalk wrapped in a foil-like blanket whipped by the wind
Maurice, 50, tries to stay warm under a foil-like blanket on skid row during a cold winter storm Friday.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Why would anyone want to destroy a refuge and a productive space for skid row residents? Stephanie Williams’ “white house” was not just an admirable venture, but essential for those downtrodden castaways in Los Angeles.

And the city demolished it. Why? Possibly because it was an embarrassment to the feckless politicians who have tried to handle this problem for decades.

Williams is a shining example of self-reliance, entrepreneurship and just plain moxie. She demonstrated that private citizens can do a much better and more efficient job than politicians. Unfortunately, Williams was a victim of the old “stop doing such a good job, you’re making me look bad” conundrum.


Rick Solomon, Lake Balboa


To the editor: Times photographer Francine Orr’s exquisite, deeply moving photograph on the Saturday print edition’s front page of Maurice, a homeless man wrapped in a foil-like blanket during the recent cold storms, was more heart-rending and powerful than Gustav Courbet’s “Desperate Man” self-portrait.

Orr has captured a mighty symbol of every human struggling to survive in the wily and wicked machinations of Mother Nature. Her photo also shows the harrowing conditions endured by the unhoused on streets of the great city of my birth.

I remain shamelessly romantic that on the “battlefield” of L.A., none of our homeless must be left to fail and die beneath life’s thinnest tarps of foil.

Michael A. Meng, Fullerton


To the editor: Two stories appeared side by side on the front page of your Feb. 25 California section. In one, people were “reveling in the snow;” in the other, as a result of “pounding rain and freezing temperatures,” homeless people “merely endured.”


What a juxtaposition!

Eleven thousand shelter beds for the 48,000 people who live on the streets of L.A. County just do not cut it. Why do we in California who do have shelter from the elements allow this to happen?

That’s a rhetorical question.

Ronna Siegel, Van Nuys