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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Veteran homelessness is a travesty. So is opposing solutions to house them

A homeless veteran on skid row
A Navy veteran who did not give his full name pushes his wheelchair on skid row near downtown Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The L.A. Times Editorial Board explained a few reasons why veteran homelessness continues.

True — federal housing vouchers are not worth enough. True — the Department of Veterans Affairs is understaffed and failed to provide many vets with basic mental healthcare. True — the VA has moved too slowly to build housing on its West L.A. campus.

But we also have communities actively blocking veteran housing solutions in their neighborhoods.

Los Angeles County is building veteran housing on a plot of land it owns in Downey, a city that has been an incredibly supportive partner. However, residents in a neighboring city have held protests, and the city itself has threatened lawsuits to stop the project. At a community meeting, angry residents said that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder would bring drugs and crime to their neighborhoods and put their children in danger.

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The number of veterans living on the streets is shameful, but perhaps more shameful is the number of Americans who will turn their backs on these veterans in their moments of need.

Janice Hahn, San Pedro

The writer is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.


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