Homeless people must compromise. The wealthy must compromise. And leaders need to act

Homeless people must compromise. The wealthy must compromise. And leaders need to act
A homeless person sits under a blanket near the intersection of Alameda and 4th streets in Los Angeles in November 2017. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The Times Editorial Board’s series on the homeless is tough, focused and correct. The homelessness problem in Los Angeles is out of control. It is not the cause of one entity or person or organization. We are all contributors.

We will never fully eliminate homelessness, but if each of us and our interest groups give a little, we can make progress.


Those who insist that more housing is the answer need to concede that is so only with mandates requiring some new construction to be affordable to people with limited income. Activists who prioritize the civil liberties of homeless people must realize these people are dying in our city. And while panhandling and sleeping in public places should not be prohibited, perhaps we can gain greater voter support for programs by not compelling people to interpret these acts as constitutionally protected. Residents of nice neighborhoods where some homeless people congregate should accept that their aesthetics are not the raison d’être of good government.

Homeless people must also compromise. Not everything they have collected in life needs saving. Some things cannot be stored.

In building places for people to live, agencies ought to act now. They need not design architectural gems.

Finally, leaders must carefully balance all interests and act for the thousands of people without shelter. The lives and the dignity of the poor trump reelection or political advancement.

Joseph DiMento, Los Angeles

The writer is a professor of law and urban planning at UC Irvine.


To the editor: Thank you for the extremely well-researched and informative articles on the homeless situation. You showed us that it is not just a numbers problem but a real people problem, as you featured the several people who have been helped by specific programs.

Though it is an extremely complex problem without a single solution, it seems that each successful program will help some people. We need to become part of the solution by supporting local efforts to increase affordable housing.

Most importantly, we need to practice the Golden Rule.

Claire Marmion, Long Beach

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