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Opinion

Readers React: Reaching out to homeless people is only the first step

To the editor: I was a legal advocate for low-income people for many years, helping them secure monetary and health benefits. My clients returned to me year after year seeking help for submitting verification of eligibility.

I spent hours explaining notices and navigating phone and other systems helping people to keep life-sustaining benefits. Every benefit — from drug treatment to Meals on Wheels — has distinct eligibility rules.

It is encouraging read to Steve Lopez’s column about teams of outreach workers roving skid row to connect homeless people to the appropriate services. (“Finally, a smart approach to helping L.A.'s homeless,” Jan. 16) Advocates often are experts in only certain services, and following up to verify accessibility and advocacy to overcome eligibility barriers will require as much or even more effort by the assistance teams.

Please publish articles about actual progress of persons accessing services. People who don’t use public programs have no idea how difficult maintaining access is, especially for people with physical, mental, literacy, and technology challenges.

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Nancy Rimsha, Santa Ana

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