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Opinion

Readers React: Indifference to homeless citizens harms all our communities

Homeless man outside in El Niño storm

A homeless man sits at a bus stop in Los Angeles on Jan. 5.

(Mike Nelson / EPA)

To the editor: And just who are those “voters”? Will they include those most affected by the problems of homelessness — the homeless themselves? (“Asking voters to OK homeless funding would take L.A. into uncharted waters,” Jan. 9)

Sadly, homelessness is an emergency, not only in Los Angeles County but also here in Orange County as well as throughout our beautiful state. Even out near Barstow there are large encampments of homeless citizens, defenseless against brutal heat and the cold. Just ordering the “unsheltered” to go away, or throwing them on buses with one-way tickets, doesn’t solve a long-festering problem.

This crisis needs to be addressed with serious thought and just-as-serious financing for safe housing, food and mental and physical healthcare. Let’s quit shrugging our shoulders and expecting rescue missions to do the work. It’s our job too, so let’s do the right thing both to help the helpless and to help our communities as a whole.

Bonnie Compton Hanson, Santa Ana

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To the editor: You can bet voters will look at a ballot initiative supporting building housing for homeless people with a skeptical eye, especially when homelessness is a thing in most communities, yet more visible (ignored) in certain L.A. neighbors and less apparent (tolerated) in wealthier communities.

This in addition to the fact that time and again, bonds and taxes are passed to make community improvements, yet those improvements remain eye sores and the money is diverted to other needs. Homelessness is a problem, but building places for homeless people to congregate isn’t the answer.

As City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said, “Voters are going to demand that we are also doing our part and we’re not just saying, ‘Oh, we’ll just take it to the voters.’”

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Conrad Corral, Cathedral City

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To the editor: As the city needs both housing for thousands of homeless veterans living on our streets as well as safe housing for athletes in our bid for the 2024 summer Olympics, perhaps federal funding could be secured to build the Olympic athletes’ village on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs grounds in Westwood.

If Los Angeles wins the Olympics, once the Games are finished, the village could be made available to our homeless veterans. Two things the city desperately needs would come about, and possibly without using any local taxpayer funding: a safe environment for visiting Olympic athletes and a partial solution for our homeless veterans, who deserve a place to call home.

James Rogers, North Hollywood

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To the editor: The news that 60-year-old Barbara Brown died of exposure on a skid row sidewalk during a recent El Niño storm in an indictment of our failed society and inept political system.

Saying that the woman had refused an offer of shelter from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority the day before she died as an excuse is completely unacceptable. This woman was left to die on a wet blanket in a rain storm, and yet the taxpayers of Los Angeles County spend money to send American soldiers to foreign countries to wage war.

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Our supposed political leaders in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington must be made accountable for this dismal failure to protect and serve a citizen who deserved our support.

Adrian Rops, Torrance 

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