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Homeless People and Their Needs

February 16, 1986

I was both pleased and dismayed by the article, "Homeless Languish in Liberal Laguna Beach," by Robert Schwartz (Jan. 30).

The article was enlightening because it was about homeless people, who have been a long-neglected segment of our society. I was distressed because the article did not deal with the complexities of people being without a place of residence.

The Episcopal Service Alliance has had to deal with misunderstandings about the homeless. For many reasons we had to close Martha House in Santa Ana in 1984. That program to shelter homeless women started in 1983. Martha House reopened May 1, 1985.

The alliance has found that people who are homeless do not all have the same personality. Some have been homeless for many years. Some, indeed, are mentally ill and need help. But there are also newly homeless families and individuals. The needs of all these people have to be addressed.

The alliance supports the efforts of all communities that are addressing the homeless issue. It has a history of setting up programs where needs exist. We have opened a shelter for homeless women that helps them to get back into the mainstream of society. We are planning a similar facility in San Clemente that will be for families.

These are starting efforts, and we need a variety of facilities to address the whole problem of people being homeless. We also need facilities that will shelter people who have been so abused by drug and alcohol addiction that they may never be mainstreamed.

But we also need people to accept these facilities into their communities. Each community should examine its role in providing a program to meet the needs of not just the homeless, but all people in need.

LISA C. REDFIELD

Administrative Assistant,

Episcopal Service Alliance

Mission Viejo

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