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Homeless Suffer While Debate Drags On

November 23, 1986

Only strong-willed men and women make it their life's work to run programs on Skid Row, so it's not surprising that Alice Callaghan and others react strongly to Andy Raubeson's stewardship of SRO Housing Corp. ("The Reweaver of L.A.'s Skid Row Safety Net" by Garry Abrams, Nov. 16). These good people--and here I mean Raubeson as well as Callaghan--are powerful believers in what they do, so feelings run high.

More than anything, the View article represents to me a venting of frustration, an expression of anger by dedicated and principled people over the near-glacial pace of progress on Skid Row. Alice Callaghan, in her search for a home for Las Familias del Pueblo, knows this as well as Andy Raubeson, and I have seen it firsthand at the Weingart Center on 6th and San Pedro.

More funds are needed, of course, but in large part the problem is a lack of a coherent public policy regarding the homeless. The cry is always for more food programs and emergency shelter, and while both are essential this cry has masked the need for an over-arching strategy to move homeless people into programs that will help those who can to leave Skid Row and those who can't to stay there in decent conditions.

Until this happens, there will be more frustration leading to more unhappy debates between people of good will and less public understanding of the underlying needs on Skid Row.

ALBERT GREENSTEIN

Los Angeles

Greenstein is chairman of the Weingart Center Assn., which owns and operates the Weingart Center on Skid Row , and is former chairman of the Countywide Task Force on the Homeless appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1984.

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