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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: There’s plenty of cheap land for homeless shelters — on the outskirts of L.A.

A homeless person sleeping in a Metro station
A person sleeps at the Hollywood/Vine Metro station in 2018.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Carla Hall’s editorial was beautifully written. The caring and empathy of our neighbors in Brentwood toward Debra and her dog Happy have indeed been lovely.

But I take exception to the director of outreach at the St. Joseph Center stating that more shelters are needed on the Westside. A big stumbling block to addressing homelessness has been that housed residents do not want shelters in their neighborhoods — and not without cause.

There is land and there are vacant buildings on the outskirts of L.A. County. Facilities could quickly be set up there to house and help multitudes. I would rather see the funds we voted to spend go toward that than pricey units in some of the most expensive areas in the country, which would help only a relative handful of people at best.

Homeless people matter — and the rest of us matter too.

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Sherry Falk, Brentwood

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To the editor: Hall’s article points to one of the elements of homelessness that makes it so intractable: Even well-meaning and generous citizens may be unable to help if the unsheltered person is unwilling to receive the assistance.

It is necessary to reopen a dialogue about the need to be able to provide services to individuals before they are prepared to accept them. It is a difficult topic to even discuss, much less manage well, but it must be part of a multi-pronged approach to solving homelessness.

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Daniel Gehman, Orange

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To the editor: Hall explains how much effort was given to finding shelter for Debra and her dog during miserable rainy weather in Brentwood. But she refused help and exhibited signs of mental illness.

Hall encourages persistence — maybe Debra will one day be willing to engage.

Will Debra end up being one of the hundreds of homeless to die on our sidewalks every year, or will we finally build the hospitals we used to have to house and treat these people ?

Robert Newman, West Hills


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