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Readers React: Orange County residents refuse shelters for the homeless — what would Jesus tell them?

A homeless woman wearing a glamorous dress while being evicted with her belongings from a homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River on Nov. 10, 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Springtime is the season of renewal. Easter, for Christians, is an especially holy time, a time for reflection. (“Disdain that fuels homelessness,” March 27)

It seems all religious institutions have kindness and regard for fellow human beings interwoven in their doctrines. So isn’t it logical that the religious in our community could put into practice the teachings of the faith they profess?

“Do unto others,” “Treat the least of thy brothers,” and such are fundamental to most religious doctrine. With that in mind, each religious institution could adopt one or more homeless to share their facilities, bathrooms, kitchens, community rooms as well as parking lots.

Think of the joy of actually living religious creed rather than just singing or praying about it.

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Phyllis Specht, Pasadena

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To the editor: On a recent trip to Berlin, we visited Sachsenhausen. Very near Berlin, Sachsenhausen was among the first Nazi concentration camps, where political dissidents were taken. It was a very sobering experience. There were no gas chambers at this place. Those came later. For the most part, the victims of Sachenhausen died of cold and starvation. A man died of appendicitis. What struck me the hardest was the fact that the perpetrators and the victims knew each other: “They went to the same schools, they lived on the same streets.”

As a homeless service provider in Los Angeles, I could see reverberations here. It starts with dehumanization of the other: people who aren’t like me; people who don’t share my beliefs. When we step over bodies on our sidewalks, silently condemning the victims as “scum,” leaving them to the elements without support, have we not taken on the role of perpetrators?

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Marsha Temple, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of the non-profit Integrated Recovery Network.

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To the editor: While I agree with much of what Mr. Skindrud writes about the homeless situation in Southern California, there is another side.

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The Los Angeles Police Department Quality of Life officers and the social workers who work with them regularly reach out to our local homeless population. Compassionate help is being offered. Many do accept help to get off the streets, but many do not. The problems are with the people who do not want help.

We have volunteer groups who go out on weekends to clean up the illegal encampments left behind in our parks and on our beaches. They post photos of what they find on our Neighborhood Watch Facebook pages.

Aside from the trash and filth that goes with any homeless encampment, these volunteers constantly find all manner of drug paraphernalia, large numbers of empty booze bottles, and items that look like stolen goods.

Nobody wants drug addicts, drunks and criminals roaming our neighborhoods. If that is NIMBYism and disdain, then so be it.

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Mary Ellen Barnes, San Pedro

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To the editor: The Mojave Desert has about 25,000 square miles of open space. Why not build cities out there for the homeless? (“Plan For Shelters Dropped After Protest,” March 28) Land is cheap, not too many people there to complain about their neighbors. How could anyone expect to build low-priced housing in this area and not have flak from potential neighbors and have projects stall in the courts?

There are a lot of ghost towns in California.Why not resurrect some of these towns for the homeless?

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What about trying to have some sort of industries where the homeless could work and build up their self-esteem — and bank accounts? The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work relief program during the Great Depression provided millions with shelter, clothing, and food. It led to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability for the participants. The CCC Program was very popular with the American public. Work is good for the soul — and so is having a roof over your head.

John Clark Matthews, Cedar Glen, Calif.

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To the editor: So, you don’t want to house the homeless and refuse sanctuary, but you will dress up on Sunday and worship a deity that taught kindness and love. Shame on you.

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Elizabeth O’Hara, Anaheim


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