Letters to the Editor: The Skid Row Housing Trust changed lives. Its decline could have been prevented

Two people walk past the boarded-up facade of the Dewey Hotel
The Dewey Hotel in Los Angeles, a Skid Row Housing Trust Property, is closed because of a recent fire.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I’ve been fortunate to meet many people whose lives were transformed for the better by the work of Skid Row Housing Trust. So, it is very disheartening to read about the organizational mismanagement and horrible conditions of many of the trust’s buildings.

Even as organizations like the trust have built more supportive housing and placed more people into permanent housing in recent years than in previous decades, we haven’t paid enough attention to funding for long-term operations and support for residents.

Until policymakers come up with sufficient funding well beyond the tax credit financing system, we will see similar challenges for other organizations that could create turmoil for leadership, staff, investors and — most importantly — the residents who have found healing and transformation in this housing.


Bill Pitkin, Los Angeles

The writer is a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute.


To the editor: The issue of homelessness has always been and always will be about human beings who cannot care for themselves. A roof, a toilet and a kitchen are not enough. This is not a problem that can be solved on the streets, in hospitals or in nursing homes in the long term.

The question is, when will fully functioning citizens acknowledge this and establish enough settings for people with disabilities or mental illness to be cared for?

In the wealthiest nation in the world, the burden should not fall on nonprofits such as the Skid Row Housing Trust. It also should not be the responsibility of California or any other state to create programs and fund the care of the disabled and unhoused.


This essential endeavor should be the responsibility of the federal government. We need to demand from our representatives a federal program and national safety net, with treatment facilities in every state. We need housing, support and other resources for all Americans who cannot care for themselves.

Stephanie Kirschner, Agoura Hills