Readers React: There must be a better way to house homeless people now than by building $500,000 units


To the editor: My fellow apartment owners need to be part of the homelessness solution. (“Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis is a national disgrace,” editorial, Feb. 25)

One of the least expensive ways to house homeless people is with rent subsidies. With the average cost to build a new “affordable” unit at about $500,000, the lower cost of rent subsidies can help a lot more people to get off the street and rent an apartment today.

The good news is that Measure H, the county’s quarter-cent sales tax hike passed in 2017, carves out some of the revenue it raises to cover rent subsidies for individuals who will receive social services while living in existing market-rate apartments.


Now it’s up to my fellow landlords to step up and join me in accepting L.A. County homeless applicants in their buildings.

Dan Tenenbaum, Los Angeles

The writer is chairman-elect of the California Apartment Assn. of Los Angeles.


To the editor: As an Angeleno for the last 15 years, I have witnessed firsthand the slow but staggering spread of misery and madness on our city’s streets. It is an omnipresent, shameful stain on one of the most beautiful, vibrant cities in the world.

But you miss the mark when you say most of us are no longer either shocked or shamed. To some extent, we are all uncomfortable, irritated, disgusted, scared or oblivious. But mostly we are angry — not at homeless people, but at our elected officials, whose task it is to enact solutions to this solvable (yes, solvable) problem.

Voters in Los Angeles have decided to tax themselves to pay for more housing and services. We volunteer at shelters and donate clothes, food and money. We stay calm when screamed at by mentally ill people and vow patience when camps go up near our children’s parks.


Our elected officials are far too calm, however. They need to establish large-scale temporary housing and services as if this were a refugee crisis. It is done in a matter of weeks in war zones across the globe.

Because the truth is Los Angeles is indeed under assault — not by the homeless, but by homelessness. And the quality of millions of lives is at stake.

Daniel Shafer, Los Angeles


To the editor: Why can’t we build housing based on college dormitories? It would be less expensive than building full apartment units and house more people much more quickly and at a lower cost.

This type of housing would be adaptable for those who need support services. Bathrooms and kitchens down the hall might not be optimal, but would at least provide access at decreased cost and be a heck of a lot better than living in tents on the street.

Reading about Los Angeles’ city-owned parking lots as sites for housing, I would suggest this as an option for new building.


Susan Chorpenning, Altadena

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