Opinion

Homelessness isn’t just Eric Garcetti’s problem. He’s doing more than most

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Mayor Eric Garcetti takes a tour of First to Serve Outreach Ministries in Los Angeles on June 12.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: We need to keep the pressure up to end homelessness, but let’s recognize the accomplishments of Los Angeles County and city leaders. (“Garcetti is trying to face the challenge of homelessness, but he’s falling short,” June 15)

In just the last year and a half, more than 20,000 people been placed into housing because of Measure H. And, there are nearly 6,000 supportive housing units being built.

Here is where we need to apply the pressure: expanding housing supply. Sixty percent of the cities in L.A. County issued zero permits for affordable units last year. Additionally, NIMBYs have used the California Environmental Quality Act to block ordinances that streamline housing production.

One person will not end homelessness. A humanitarian crisis of this magnitude requires everybody to help. We all must do whatever we can.

The homelessness and housing insecurity crisis took 40 years to get to this point — four decades of under-building and under-investing in our communities. We’ve done so much but have so much still to do. Let’s take the long view.

Ann Sewill, Los Angeles

The writer is vice president of health and housing at the California Community Foundation.

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To the editor: One of the reasons our society has arrived at this homelessness crisis is that we keep trying to pass the buck. We need to stop looking for the one person who can solve this problem. A humanitarian crisis of this magnitude requires everybody to help.

County and city leaders realized this when they turned to voters to create an unprecedented funding stream for homeless services and housing. Homelessness and extreme poverty are complex issues that will require an arsenal of tools and solutions wielded by an army of Angelenos.

It is time for a public reckoning, where each of us — including elected officials, homeowners, business owners, faith leaders, readers of the Los Angeles Times and columnists — has to examine our role in being part of the solution.

Norman Johnson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I live near the Universal City stop on Metro’s Red Line. When the subway was being built, Metro officials met with local residents several times. We asked for restrooms at the station but did not get them. (“Why on Earth is it so hard to put out toilets for L.A.'s homeless?” editorial, June 18)

I have traveled to many countries and found restrooms in subway stations.

The Universal City stop has a large bus turnaround lot and plenty of homeless people in the area. It seems like a logical place to put a couple of public toilets and hand-washing stations.

People who use Metro need restrooms. It is not just something for homeless people.

Connie Elliot, Studio City

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