In recent days, Whittier has begun attacking the issue of homelessness on two fronts. The City Council has expressed support for a citywide forum to discuss the problem, and the city's Social Service Commission has given $17,000 to a regional housing program for the homeless.
At the urging of the commission, the council endorsed the idea of a community forum on the homeless to be held sometime this summer. Officials believe the city has one of the largest homeless populations in the Southeast area, with about 100 people living permanently in the city's streets and parks.
The commission has agreed to give $17,000 to a pilot program for the homeless at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk. Besides offering temporary housing, the family shelter eventually will provide counseling and job training. Whittier is one of several Southeast area cities in recent months to help establish a regional program for the homeless at the hospital.