Our homeless citizens deserve to be placed into clean shelters now. The Times is correct in telling it like it is. Our supervisors should appoint someone to get more shelters built or leased as soon as possible.
We cannot be fearful that decent care for Americans in Los Angeles will attract more homeless. There's been too much fear and talk and publicity handouts; 90% of all Angelenos want to help these unfortunate people. Why can't we get some forthright leadership and get this ball rolling?
One year ago November, we went to the supervisors requesting aid for the homeless. Dana was able to defuse our efforts by declaring that homelessness wasn't a problem in Los Angeles County and that he has a shelter in Long Beach that is never full. Since that time the United Way estimated there were approximately 25,000 homeless in Dana's county and the federal government estimated 31,000 to 34,000.
As for the shelter that's never full, Dana neglected to mention that the reason it was never full was the fact that it was under-budgeted and the staff could not afford to allow any more homeless people into the shelter! Neither did Dana mention that the shelter was just for women and children, that the men who sleep in the bushes outside his office were not welcome.
In his letter Dana also states that the county is providing 2,500 voucher beds each night for the homeless, but he failed to mention that the only reason the county is doing that is because it was forced to through lawsuits.
Dana stated that the county is going to try to help the homeless get on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We were in the board meeting when this subject was discussed. The only attractive feature of the project to Dana and his fellow conservatives was the fact that it will ultimately save the county money. To imply that Dana or the other Republicans supported the project out of a genuine concern for the mentally ill/disabled homeless is once again to mislead the public.
Mayer, Rodgers and Lyons are members of the Homeless Organizing Team.
"Let the churches take care of the homeless."
That is philosophy of Supervisor Antonovich. In his letter, he wrote, "Billy Graham has said that if every church and synagogue in the land took in 10 poor families, the welfare problem would no longer exist."
This, after saying that "It is estimated that as many as half of the homeless are in need of mental health services." Supervisor Antonovich must know how much it costs to "take in" a poverty family, so therefore he doesn't understand the facilities or the resources of an ordinary church. Housing 10 families would cost as much as the facilities of the average church, and maintaining a family at poverty level would consume the total annual budget of most ordinary churches.
HARRY L. JUREY