Letters to the Editor: Too bad it’s taking a pandemic for leaders to get creative on homelessness

Homeless veterans set up camp in a VA parking lot in Los Angeles on April 8.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Housed residents should be begging local officials to follow the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and organize camps with services for homeless people in parks, on golf courses, in parking lots or wherever there is space.

Shelters do not afford residents nearly the same ability to maintain social distance as do their own tents in an orderly setting. Besides, many unhoused people will not go into shelters for any number of reasons. And, even if they did, there still wouldn’t be nearly enough beds to accommodate everyone.

Left on their own in street encampments, homeless people cannot effectively shelter in place. They still have to find food and relieve themselves. They also need to obtain medication, locate places to plug in phones and find restrooms to maintain hygiene. This is impossible when most businesses and public facilities are shuttered.


Wouldn’t it be smarter and safer for us to organize campgrounds where such needs can be met on site?

David Ewing, Venice


To the editor: It takes a deadly pandemic for us to figure out how to care for homeless veterans.

I went to a town hall meeting in Venice about two years ago to listen to arguments for housing homeless people. My friend, who is a Venice resident, and I have spent two years discussing what to do about this sad and horrific way of life for all who are impacted, both sheltered residents and people who live in encampments.

We have discussed housing homeless people in unused buildings, on VA land and in nearby parking lots. I am happy to read that somebody is thinking outside the box and actually putting a plan into action.

Diane Merendino, Marina del Rey