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Homeless

October 13, 1987

The "homeless" who marched on the affluent communities of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades should have done some homework first (Metro, Sept. 26, 27). All these communities have plenty of homeless--especially Beverly Hills, where you find them hunkering down for the night in our back alleys, the Post Office building or hiding in rest rooms of office and public buildings hoping for a night under a roof. The Beverly Hills Courthouse roof is a favorite, where they dodge authorities among the sheltering air conditioning and heating installations.

The story about the mayor of Beverly Hills meeting the Los Angeles contingent of homeless with coffee and croissants is a laugh. It's no more than a cheap publicity stunt. Why doesn't he do the same on a regular basis for Beverly Hills' own homeless?

As for mental health facilities to "treat" the homeless, homelessness itself is the sickness. Urban experts and mental health workers know that a week or two without a roof over one's head and no opportunity to bathe or launder will make anyone daft. And that happens to low-income renters who are evicted and lack the money for three months up front as a deposit plus costs of moving. Give them homes, whether the homeless are in Beverly Hills or Skid Row.

JOHN PATRICK YOUNG

Beverly Hills

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