Readers React: It’s futile for L.A. to keep confiscating homeless people’s property

To the editor: I’m a retired Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services employee who spent about five years in a crew that regularly cleaned up homeless encampments in the downtown area alleys. (“The fair way to handle the homeless and their belongings,” editorial, March 17)

The usual procedure was to post written notices three days in advance that we would be “cleaning up” these areas. Unless the homeless person is present, it’s difficult to ascertain what is of value to them and what is not. Further training for these city crews as to what should be considered “possessions” would be helpful.

As for notifying homeless people about their stored belongings, an 800 number is of no use if you don’t have a phone, a Web address is not helpful if you don’t have access to the Internet, and a storage facility halfway across town doesn’t help if you lack bus fare. Life would be even more difficult if your ID and Social Security info were hauled away too.

My hope is that we don’t spend more money trying to “shoo away” homeless people and instead focus on providing food, shelter and healthcare.


Dan Mariscal, Montebello 

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