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Letters to the Editor: Instead of clearing homeless encampments, why not try upgrading them?

Santa Rosa homeless encampment
More than 200 people live in a homeless encampment along the Joe Rodata Trail in Santa Rosa.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Clearing homeless encampments is a whack-a-mole exercise in frustration and futility. The makeshift shelters pop up almost immediately after clearance, usually close by, and later reappear in the first place over and over. (“Trump wants California cops to evict homeless people. They don’t want that ‘dirty’ job,” Feb. 6)

This process contributes to a kind of torture we inflict on the homeless. These people live with no clean water, no services and no help to cope with the fear, insecurity and filth all around them. Isn’t it time we tried a different approach that preserves our communities and actually benefits homeless people?

Let’s provide a managed encampment system.

Homeless people say they have no place to go. I think we should give them a place to go — a clean camp with social and medical help, trash disposal, food and sanitation, and access to transitional and permanent housing as it becomes available.

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This would be a humane alternative to the broken strategy now employed by officials who are, frankly, at a loss and seem bewildered. We’re spending an enormous amount of money with little to show for it, so let’s do something that could really work.

Roger Walton, North Hills


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