Letters to the Editor: Hotel rooms can’t replace homeless people’s communities

Work crews look over belongings left behind by a homeless person at Echo Park Lake on March 26.
Work crews look over belongings left behind by a homeless person at Echo Park Lake on March 26.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Two recent pieces in The Times clarified my thinking on the issue of homelessness.

In her April 3 column, Erika D. Smith included the experiences of people who had recently lived at the Echo Park Lake encampment. These homeless people developed relationships and had interactions that may or may not seem functional to the outside world. Smith’s column showed that many homeless people are not just living randomly on the street, but are seeking community.

In contrast, a letter writer discussed the value of Echo Park Lake to the community prior to the encampment. I believe she was expressing the position of privilege in our society and arguing that it should supersede the needs of homeless people.

Until people in the middle class suffer the consequences of our economic system and the whole issue of wealth inequity, we will never come to grips with homelessness and housing.


I, for one, would rather live in a tent surrounded by people I know than in a hotel room in one part of town one night, then in another the next. It is our economic system, and not our leadership, that needs to be addressed before anything else.

Jay Coffman, San Diego


To the editor: Is the Los Angeles Times trying to convince us to feel remorse over the fact that people can no longer set up their tents in a public park?

Perhaps our sympathies lie elsewhere, like with hard-working families and taxpayers who have a right to safe access to public property.

The best thing that can happen to a homeless person is a roof over their head and a realistic road to recovery, not some pie in the sky belief about communes in public parks.

Jean Anker, Woodland Hills